Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Album Review - Dermal Harvest by Skineater - 9/10

Artwork design and concept by Mathias Björkbacka
Skineater is a colossal death metal band, making it's way from Sweden, that plans on taking 2013 by storm. Skineater is formed from past and present members of Wombbath, In Thy Dreams, Dark Funeral, Carnal Forge, Defleshed, and more. This supergroup of fantastic musicians came together to create death metal shrouded in a darkness of well crafted melodic elements. Dermal Harvest is the band's debut, and to be quite honest, it doesn't sound like it is at all. That comes with the experience though, you get an album that sounds like it should be the third or even fourth release from the band.

The influences that emanate from this band are also contained within Dermal Harvest. Think of the bands listed above and add the darkened versions of the melodies of other Swedish death metal bands (Early In Flames should be one of the first to come to mind).

"He Was Murdered" starts the album off with a bang. The vocals already make an immediate, great first impression. The unique rasp adds a small but also important detail to this entire record. The instrumentals are powerful and create an off the wall sort of energy in a few areas. Combine these elements with the addictive chorus and you have yourself a damn good start to a great melodic death metal album. Simple, straight to the point, and catchy as hell.

"Dismantling" continues this trend and adding in a few more surprises. You'll hear more of some thrash qualities as the album progresses, along with a few randomly placed instrumental sections (such as a bit of light guitar strumming). The two layers of vocals, also from the previous track, work so well together and contain the same elements as one another. It feels like an echo but not like an annoying younger sibling.

"Your Life Is Mine" almost feels like the intro to an In Flames track. Alright, you guys got me. Take my money. You'll find this riff throughout the track, but not after they heavy up the music some more with a small screeching guitar solo and some raw death metal riffs in the chorus.

"Made of Godsick" slows down the pace a bit, almost to a heavy metal standpoint but infused with death metal steroids. The crunchy, heavy hitting riffs flow nicely in this tune. "Through The Empire" does a 180 and returns to the death metal aspect of the band. You get to hear some cool beeline-like guitar playing in the background which add a nice little detail to the already busy track.

"Stab" has an awesome guitar solo near the middle. It may seem a bit over the top but it acts as some icing on the cake with this album. The heavy hitting, rapid-fire drum work throughout is impressive as well. Just some really outstanding energy with this one. "Drifting" carries this energy forward with the incorporation of melody. "Thousand Dead Faces" also contains some of that melody, and revisits some of the sound from the first track of Dermal Harvest.

Guitar. That is all I need to say about "Bring Them". Let me just say your face gets melted off pretty easily in this track, and that is a good thing. What is interesting about the last two tracks is that they feel totally opposite of each other. "Solitude Discord" isn't about melody. It is straight up a kick in the face with old school death metal rhythms along with destructive vocal and guitar work. This last effort leaves you wanting more, as soon as you pick yourself back up, of course.

Dermal Harvest will be a tough contender for later released albums. The blend of melody, brutality, and experience is enough to sway these guys to the top lists, in my opinion. Keep these folks in mind near the end of the year. Skineater is another force to be reckoned with, and actually one of the few "supergroups" that actually lives up to the name. I can't wait to see more releases in the future. I hope they stay along this path with those releases as well.

Rating - 9/10
Release Date - February 19th, 2013

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Pulverised Records Website
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Lineup

Stefan Westerberg - Bass
Matte Modin - Drums
Håkan Stuvemark - Guitars
Kari Kainulainen - Lead guitar
Jörgen Ström - Vocals

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