Friday, March 21, 2014
Skelethal - Deathmanicvs Revelation  (EP)
As a duo who had previously contributed to the retro-thrash French obscure Infinite Translation, naturally I wasn't too enthralled to see Jon Whiplash and Gui Haunting performing in their revivalist schemes in the field of death metal with Skelethal. Now let's be clear here, folks. There's really very little to get excited about the ''Deathmanicvs Revelation'' EP that these two Frenchmen put out unless you're constantly in the mood to try out recycled riffs after recycled riffs from the 90's, pertaining to Entombed and Dismember in the highest degree possible. It's annoying enough the sound on many Swedeath revitalization attempts are so compressed and paper-thin in actual originality, but the matter doubles in banality when entire throngs of bands can't seem to free themselves of the verbosity of this situation. Not that Skelethal's capability lies solely in dialing back to '89-'93 - the Frenchmen have got more juice than a good few of their fellow aping machines - but even if the 22 minutes they presented was vigorous enough, I could never stop thinking how confined these younglings were to their style.
What I'm talking about here is, of course, loud bantering guitars with the atypical Swedish death metal toning, raw, fermenting and persistently dismissive of an eclectic listener's attempt to carve out more refined sounds; and one cannot forget the vocals either, which were, I'm afraid, by no stretch of the imagination particularly evocative in its pestering attempt to provoke horror and living fear. I suppose Skelethal channels back to the demo-stages of Grave, Entombed, Unleashed and Dismember (Nihilist, if you will), because they crave a thinner and more metallic abstraction of the guitars some of their counterparts, and I some of thrashy directions which the duo exhibited with their side project Infinite Translation certainly rubbed off on their death metal chord-playing, as the title track abundantly displayed. However, despite all my carping with the lack of innovation most of the guitar riffs and drum patterns, it goes without saying I felt a mild craving for the furious tempo and pacy edginess the Frenchmen created, and I even felt they were flirting with Napalm Death or Terrorizer on the unbridled ''Curse of the Neverending''.
Yet, for the sheer bliss of razing, chainsaw-ripping death metal out here, Skelethal doesn't have much to offer besides a few cans of grossly brewed beer. The sense of the necessity to break through and ponder a more intricately layered, worthwhile sounds shines through ''Death Returns''; it's pretty obvious that even these guys aren't really having an extremely fun time playing the stuff that's been blistering ears and headphones alike for over 20 years - but their failure at circumvention is inevitable. Thankfully, the atmospheric aspects of the EP weren't imposed with the mephetic dullness of a lot of bands in the same market, because the production was rather crisp, raw, and gave in for plenty of breathing space in the end. ''A Violation of Something Sacred'' was probably the band's dabble with death n' roll, and not a bad one, at that, but I felt the product was all the same. There might have been a moment or two here that the guitar actually stood out with sufficient memorability, but that's it... I won't demean the Frenchmen at such a preliminary effort - there have, after all, been copious bands before who took years to properly refine themselves - but let's just hope that the pastiche and creativity of the riffing is enlarged with future recordings. Till then, drink beer and hail death.