I have been waiting for the right album to come along so I could finally get to writing about some death metal. I’ve recently been feeding an addiction to the music of Cannibal Corpse, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to them for about a month now. It’s just every day listening to at least three or four albums. And it’s frustrating because I don’t really feel like I could write about them until a new album comes out, as their most recent was released in 2014.
Thankfully, Skinless is releasing their first album in over 7 years today. The album is “Only the Ruthless Remain,” an unrelenting onslaught of brutal death metal. Skinless is astonishingly tight, moving between insanely fast shredding to thick and heavy dirges, without warning. And, like Cannibal Corpse, Skinless has a way of sneaking in some deft sweeps of technical virtuosity with quick rhythm and tempo changes, the occasional asymmetric meter, and at times an actually swinging rhythm section. The solos throughout are particularly interesting in that they aren’t perpetually seeking to blaze through a million notes in a few bars, but instead are often times tracing out expansive melodic lines.
The track “Serpenticide,” sets a good example for the sudden metric modulations and tempo changes that take place in several other songs across the album. This one also features an extended dual guitar line that seems to purposefully avoid finding any sort of stability, instead wandering over top of a rhythm that never seems to stay in one place for very long. Drummer Bob Beaulac’s drumming is rock-solid, and often explores subdivisions and borrowed rhythmic values inside those subdivisions that lend the feeling of a looser groove, but are actually firmly in place the entire time.
You can hear “Serpenticide” as well as “Skinless” in the player above. Like I said, the album is out today and you can pick from any number of formats from their bandcamp page. The album is available as a digital download, 2 different kinds of colored vinyl, or as a CD.
And, yes, their new guitarist is named Dave Matthews, but it should be pointed out that he is definitely not the shitty acoustic guy.