Austin metal maulers Skeleton inject your brain with chaotic energy with devastating debut

Photo by Danieal DiDomenico

Fun. Hey, remember that stuff? We used to have that shit all the time before 2020 struck and turned our lives into the utter pit of misery. But it’s still kind of out there in places if you look really hard, and once you find it, it turns out it’s still kind of magical and powerful.

Well, I say all of that with the arrival of Skeleton’s self-titled debut record, an 11-track, 28-minute smasher that’s just a blast from wall to wall. The Austin-based band actually have based a lot of their music in bleak, scorched-earth madness that reaps the blood, but holy shit if their stew of black metal, punk, and thrash isn’t an absolute blast to hear. Yeah, it’s downright serious and skull mashing, and you’ll feel like you’ve been through a war once it’s over. But your blood will rush the entire time the band—drummer/vocalist Victor Skeleton, guitarists David Skeleton and Alex Guzman, bassist Cody Combs—has you in its clutches, sending you into a pit of black chaos.

The title track, and band theme, kicks off the album and just rushes by as raw crushing rips out of the seams and the black howls land punches. Then we’re in to “Mark of Death” that has drums rustling and strong riffs galloping heavily while the raspy growls grab you around the throat. The chorus is menacing, and the back ends send fiery jolts. “The Sword” has the drums rushing the gates as thrashy darkness throttles you while we dash into the intimidating shadows. The riffs then wrap around as the burning punishment leaves ugly scars. “T.O.A.D.” has electrifying riffs that spill the blood as things get even nastier. The playing is melodic and bustling, stomping everywhere and leaving squashed guts behind. “Ring of Fire” is not the Johnny Cash song as it’s deadlier. Riffs crunch as the growls scrape along, while a humid classic metal vibe rolls in as Victor howls about “my ring of fire, burn!” as the track blasts out.

“At War” has riffs that tear the lid off the thing while Victor vows, “I’m not afraid to die,” as the track hits a flurry of speed. The pace chugs while the playing splatters, with the drums opening up wounds toward the end. “Taste of Blood” smothers you and drives right into the heart of battle while Victor demands, “Taste the blood of victory!” The playing mashes bones as cool leads burn over top and come to a maniacal finish. “Victory” is a quick 44-second interlude that glazes over, and that leads into “A Far Away Land” that opens in the throes of adventure. The coarse vocals send shockwaves as the playing takes on a devastating punk rock vibe. “Turned to Stone” has a huge start that heads into blazing riffs and wild cries. The track burns the hair off your arms as the guitar work delivers anguish, and the noise finally erodes. “Catacombs” is the longest track of the bunch at 4:45, and it closes the record, starting with eerie guitars and chilling air. Suddenly, a blinding display roars hard, turning everything to dust with the drums punching your ribs. The power dissolves into echoes before reopening with colorful chaos and everything burning its final drops of fuel.

Skeleton’s debut is one hell of a fun burst of black metal, thrash, and punk that flies by so fast, you won’t know what the hell hit you. It’s 28 minutes of madness that get your juices flowing, blacken your eyes, and make you appreciate the punishment. This is as fitting a time as any for music that just kicks your ass and lets you have a violent good time, and Skeleton more than delivers.

For more on the band, go here:

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