Watching football fans truly is a marvel, seeing spectators screaming at the players telling them what they ought to do, though what would it be like to put a spectator on the pitch?
2. Only The Ruthless Remain
5. The Beast Smells Blood
6. The Funeral Curse
7. Barbaric Proclivity
Release date: June 1st
Returning after their eight year absence it would seem that the old adage is indeed true. Skinless have aged wonderfully like a fine wine. Teasing their return earlier in the year until we all got the confirmation that New York death metal legends would indeed be reappearing this year. Now, eight years is long time to be a spectator. Long enough for a bands sound to get diluted, change influence, perhaps even lose some self confidence.
Kicking the album off with the venomous “Serpenticide” were immediately thrown to the lions. After the unnerving whispers of our intro, flung straight into classic death metal territory. With riffs coming thick and fast, melded with the sense of groove that has become indentical with the genre. The band slow it right down, playing with harmonies giving the song an overall doom laden vibe, including a monolithic end piece that just screams the classic stomp of death metal. Though the transition may sound clunky it is pulled off very organically, especially when the band decided to kick up the dirt in the listeners face with the introduction of just one of the many blistering solo’s on the record.
With harmonies returning once again for “Flamethrower” reminiscent of a much less theatrical Nile, leaning more towards the Immolation spectrum. Vocalist Sherwood Webber’s bellows are truly inhuman, making a strong centrepiece in the albums structure, whilst also creating a fantastic atmosphere. The final bridge section would make even the most stubborn of metal heads throw down. Make no mistake Only The Ruthless Remain has the vitality of an old school death metal band. Commendable in this day and age where everything is produced to perfection, the production on the album lends itself very to a “rough around the edges” approach, which makes the listen that much more enjoyable.
To those who might speculate the fact that after their return they have only written seven songs, Decapitated did exactly the same with Organic Hallucinosis. Normally I am with people of that mindset however when the material that have got is a good as Only The Ruthless Remain then seven tracks of exemplary death metal is a fantastic statement of a cocksure band.
The morbid march of “The Funeral Curse” throws the listener off the scent, lending themselves to almost classic thrash tendencies the band open with a solemn clean guitar introduction signalling our imminent demise before returning to the barrage of death metal. Before arguably the most tasteful use of guitar in the record with our player sounded like a bloodsoaked Kirk Hammett. Making sure the Skinless extinguish all life in their path, title track “Only The Ruthless Remain” contains some absolute anvil sized breaks
that would scare off the uninitiated to death metal in seconds.
Signalling the arrival of the end of our snapshot into the feral wilderness that is the Skinless sound. The bouncing almost tribal like toms signal the arrival of final track, the aptly titled “Barbaric Proclivity” where the band ensure that all remnants of life are well and truly extinguished. Though I wasn’t too sure about the solo mid way through, I thought it was a little too out of key for my liking. Oddly enough this time around the production enhanced the bands sound to no end, ensuring that murky rhythm sections stayed ugly and lead lines cut through when needed.
Skinless may have been spectators in the death metal arena for eight years, but returning with the brute force that is Only The Ruthless Remain are now firmly back in the arena. Delivering an album that may not be for every metal head out there, but an absolute must for any self respecting death metal fan out there.