(2000) Beyond The Permafrost

Skeletonwitch

... read moreThe classic heavy metal revival of the mid-'00s seems to break down into two major categories: bands devoted to replicating one specific genre in minute, authentic detail -- be that '80s thrash, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, or '70s doom -- and bands attempting to blend all of these, and...

36′:20″ 12 Songs

1
Upon Wings Of Black
Skeletonwitch
2:40
2
Beyond The Permafrost
Skeletonwitch
2:29
3
Baptized In Flames
Skeletonwitch
4:05
4
Sacrifice For The Slaughtergod
Skeletonwitch
2:53
5
Vengeance Will Be Mine
Skeletonwitch
3:08
6
Limb From Limb
Skeletonwitch
2:16
7
Fast Into The Open Sea
Skeletonwitch
3:16
8
Fire From The Sky
Skeletonwitch
2:33
9
Soul Trashing Black Sorcery
Skeletonwitch
2:34
10
Remains Of The Defeated
Skeletonwitch
3:05
11
Feast Upon Flesh
Skeletonwitch
3:09
12
Within My Blood
Skeletonwitch
4:12
Released 10 October 2000, ℗ Prosthetic

Review

The classic heavy metal revival of the mid-'00s seems to break down into two major categories: bands devoted to replicating one specific genre in minute, authentic detail -- be that '80s thrash, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, or '70s doom -- and bands attempting to blend all of these, and other worthy subgenres, into a new-fangled gumbo all their own. Such is the goal of Athens, OH's Skeletonwitch, whose fabulously named sophomore full-length, Beyond the Permafrost, starts off with a steaming helping of vintage thrash sounds, then garnishes them with smaller but still clearly defined ingredients of black, death, and vintage heavy metal -- plus the aforementioned N.W.O.B.H.M. Beyond the Permafrost's unapologetically metal cover art alone is sure to earn the scorn of musical hipsters everywhere, but the sheer ferocity and white-knuckled velocity of swords-and-sorcery thrash anthems like "Upon Wings of Black," "Sacrifice for the Slaughtergod," and "Fire from the Sky" will have those who stick around crying out for Mommy! If not that, then the fearsome vocals of Chance Garnette should do the trick, as he alternates between guttural death growls and higher-pitched black metal screeches, both performed with equal measures of wild-eyed excitement. Make no mistake, however, it's really twin guitar terrors Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick who captain Skeletonwitch's Man o' War, both dominating and defining the band's high-energy assault with positively carnivorous riffs, tightly intertwined with frenzied lead licks. And even though they rarely require more than two or three minutes to state their cases (much like similarly inspired Canadian brethren 3 Inches of Blood), Skeletonwitch do know how to operate at sub-light speed, bringing welcome variety of tempo and attack to adventure metal quests such as "Baptized in Flames," "East Into the to the Open Sea," and "Remains of the Defeated," where those melodic, N.W.O.B.H.M. influences really shine through. In the end, if there's one all-encompassing criticism that may be leveled at Skeletonwitch's material, is that it's virtually all money shot, not much build-up, never mind foreplay! Nevertheless, it's difficult to resist the band's enthusiasm and intensity, so, foreplay or not, Beyond the Permafrost surely qualifies amongst the best retro-metal releases of 2007. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia