Released: 2020, Hells Headbangers Records
Reviewer: Pete Mutant
Another Richmond, B.C.-loving death metal band and this time hailing from France. Skelethal are back with their sophomore full release three years after their debut full release ‘Of The Depths’. Since then they put out a split and a demo so they were keeping the content flowing and the riffs spilling. They’ve been about for eight years or so now and have been pretty prolific to say the least. Some bands may be forgiven for lapsing somewhat around this point but you do not have to worry about that with this band.
Their most recent release is an absolute banger in the best way possible. As a fedora-wearing reprobate may state: “this album slaps”. Not only does it slap but it pounds, it brutalises, it thrills and smashes with the utmost contempt for your existence. Coming fairly late in the year, Skelethal are staking a claim for best death metal album of the year.
There’s been a lot of albums out there to contest for that position: Benediction, Incantation, Skeletal Remains, Vader and Carnation to name but a few. Some from stalwarts of the scene and others from more recent acts; 2020 may have been a terrible year for musicians but it has been great for music. I wouldn’t rank this in the top 5 but it 100% will be in the top 10 of the death metal releases of this year.
Skelethal definitely sound akin to the more modern style of death metal. The production is pretty tight, the music is rapid and varied and they are not afraid to hone the power of the riff. From the opening track to the final, there’s plenty of solid music here. The first four tracks really dominate the album and set the tone. The opener doesn’t blow your mind at first with a fairly repetitive riff but it opens up and doesn’t look back. My pick of the bunch riff wise is ‘Repulsive Recollections’. Such a catchy riff that stands out and sucks you in before the rest of the cacophony overtakes.
‘Unveiling The Threshold’ unveils some real talent for this band. They’ve got riffs, raw vocals and a top rhythm section that connects so well together. France has some great bands that are now well established globally and Skelethal definitely have the talent to get some similar love from around the world. If the keep releasing albums like this then they will not do their chances any harm at all. Stellar stuff.