Skinless – “Savagery” (Relapse Records)
One of New York’s best known death metal bands, Skinless have been going since 1992 and despite a brief hiatus, have returned fresh to the fight to rip into us once more gloriously on this 6th release! Well known for their bloody, if comically entertaining live sets featuring ‘fleshless’ ladies to the audience beating each other with foam ‘logs of death’, “Savagery” is anything but a joke and features 10 brutal but sophisticated tracks that attest to Skinless’s blood thirsty reputation through their 25 year long legacy. While employing the usual cookie monster vocals courtesy of Sherwood Webber IV and massive, menacing riffola regurgitated from the twin guitars of founder Noah Carpenter and Dave Matthews, the band employ a variety of tempos and most of all, a tasteful doom element (judging by their visceral cover of Crowbar’s ‘High Rate Extinction’) that keeps the material fresh along with a hint of originality, hence why Skinless stand out from the rest of the slavering death metal pack! Special mention should go to Bob Beaulac for his incredible drumming from precision percussion to possessing tribal beats and naturally, frictionless high speed double bass work – a pleasure to listen to sir! From the pummelling barrage of ‘Exacting Revenge’ where Beaulac’s drum ripples perfectly match Webber’s roars and banshee screams to the blast beating, pig squealing ‘Line Of Dissent’ that soon gives way to evil Sabbathy warbling and in turn, a chundering splash cymbal ridden groove, Skinless show their measure amply on the impressive tracks here, even chucking in a short instrumental on ‘The Hordes’ where Carpenter and Matthews just bask in the reverb smoking out’ve their guitars ha ha! My personal favourite had to be ‘Medieval’, a colossal doom death monster reflected in the cavernous guttural rasps of Webber, macabre twisted melodies and naturally, Beaulac’s smashing drums that drove the ferocity of the song from start to finish. A truly masterful release from one of New York’s finest!