Skeletonwitch - Serpents Unleashed | Review

If you’re reading this webzine and you don’t know who Skeletonwitch are, you need to reconsider everything about your life. For 10 years now these Ohio boys have been putting in the hard work and have become one of the most respected bands in metal. One could say metal fans have formed a bond with the band as strong as a marriage built on love, trust and communication. We love Skeletonwitch and they love us. This is fact. We can trust that every couple years Skeletonwitch will release a killer album. And as for communication, these relentless road dogs provide ample opportunity to chat them up as they rack up the miles to play just about everywhere. The traditional gift for a 10 year anniversary is aluminum, so buy the guys some cans of beer already! Or at the very least buy Serpents Unleashed, the ‘Witch’s new firestorm of super-heated, flesh-rending metal. Is that title a euphemism?

For 11 tracks averaging just under three minutes each, Chance Garnette (vocals), Nate Garnette (guitar), Scott Hedrick (guitar), Evan Linger (bass) and Dustin Boltjes (drums) plow their way through your speakers with all the force they exhibit in the live environment. Kurt Ballou’s production brings out all the clarity of the four talented musicians as well as all the horror inherent in Chance’s phlegm-wracked rasp. What really stands out is the footwork of Boltjes. That furious double-kick is spot on every time. Absolutely flawless. Coupled with his partner-in-rhythmic-crime, Linger, that end of things holds up on par with the twin guitar attack of “N8 Feet” and “Scunty D”. That pair has shared a little more of the writing duties on this go ‘round and it’s blatantly obvious they are operating on the same tight wavelength.

On Serpents Unleashed, Skeletonwitch do what they do best. Blistering rhythms abound at full sprint without knocking the sense out of you. By which I mean the riffs are very, very memorable. Especially on tracks like “Burned from Bone” and “I Am of Death”. The latter slowing the pace a bit so the melodies really show through. As pummeling as Skeletonwitch can be, there’s always that catchiness. The blackening of their thrash/NWOBHM is most apparent on “This Evil Embrace”, which oozes atmosphere during its opening moments, and via the windswept tremolos on “Born of the Light That Does Not Shine”.

Serpents Unleashed takes what Skeletonwitch is to the next level. They’re leaders among men at what can best be described as simply “metal”. Undeniably quality metal. Until next time, do as Chance says and “Drink beer! Smoke weed! And eat pussy!”

Matt Hinch 

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Matt Hinch lives an unassuming life on the backroads outside Forest Mills, Ontario, Canada. He packs in as much metal as he possible can amid factory work, raising three daughters with his wife and working the land. In addition to Scratch the Surface Matt also writes for Hellbound, Ghost Cult Magazine, About Heavy Metal and his own blog, Kingdom of Noise.
Keep up with him on Twitter @MetalMatt_KofN.

1 comment:

  1. Doesnt look like alot of people know who they are:/ More news to spread then, and many more shows. Seen them 3 times live, wicked Metal band for sure. Chill dudes as well!!