Within Corrosive Continuums CD JEWELCASE

Hells Headbangers, jewelcase, Formed in 2012,...
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Hells Headbangers, jewelcase, Formed in 2012, SKELETHAL have been at the forefront of the now-fertile French death metal scene. While many of the band's primary influences have been Swedish - Entombed, Carnage, and Dismember - over the past decade, the quartet have finessed that style of death metal into one that feels classic rather than simply "old." Call it intrinsically understanding what makes death metal DEATH METAL or simply possessing the songwriting nous to add to such a hallowed canon rather than merely milking, but SKELETHAL have proven to be contenders to the throne. First full-length evidence was 2017's Of the Depths..., followed by 2020's Unveiling the Threshold, which saw a lineup change and bold steps beyond Swedeath (and both released by HELLS HEADBANGERS), and now arrives LP#3 to all but assure that ascent to the throne. Tellingly titled Within Corrosive Continuums, SKELETHAL's third album equally encapsulates their past and builds upon it in noble ways. While it's predecessor saw a slight uptick in clarity, here do SKELETHAL carry forward that clarity with a conspicuous dirtying-up of tone. The production's as powerful as ever, so it could be argued that that rediscovered grit & grime come more in the band's execution - or, more accurately, the songwriting itself. Within Corrosive Continuums immediately sounds like the same band who unleashed those prior two (celebrated) LPs, but SKELETHAL flex a bit differently here, opening up a number of (still-death metal) influences and transforming them into riffs and rhythms that ever so slightly more adventurous, all without (crucially) losing their characteristic directness. As such, the bulk of these largely-five-minute-long songs feel twice as fast, so feverish is the band's intensity, but dread-draped hooks and CRUSHING heaviness still rule the day. Put another way, SKELETHAL take on textures that are more personal and somber, but keep the expression resolutely death metal. Simply witness the 13-minute closing juggernaut, appropriately enough the title track: hearing is believing, and SKELETHAL will make believers out of even the crankiest "old school" diehards. Third albums are always a gamble when it comes to death metal; you either sell out, or get stuck in inertia for the rest of your days. SKELETHAL defy this convention and continue to push their limits, culminating in a deep trip Within Corrosive Continuums.

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