Condemned to Misery is one of those albums that makes you instantly wish you could time travel to your next festival, grab a beer and windmill yourself up a fearsome bangover. Packed full of blast beats, hench groovy riffs and Tardyesque vocals, Skeletal Remains are quite literally on point with their latest release.
Hailing from the home of many of metal’s finest California, Skeletal Remains are four lads who are not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves. The vibes of late 80’s early 90’s death metal juggernauts Obituary, Death and Asphyx are impressively strong, giving the album a 100% authentic old school death metal feel. If you didn’t know better one could easily mistake this for a death metal game changer straight out of 1991. Every track on Condemned to Misery is guaranteed to conjure up a bone smasher of a pit.
One of the signature features of the album is the extraordinary amounts of speed it possesses. Tracks such as Euphoric Bloodfeast and Atrocious Calamity are both powerful, speedy little numbers that make for a rich, delightful listen. Euphoric Bloodfeast is one mighty fine Death/Obituary hybrid with some pleasant, tweedly solos and chugging, aggressive undertones. Vocalist Chris Monroy is belting his lungs out on this track and boy is it paying off, as the tracks strength rapidly increases throughout. Atrocious Palamity is also a faced paced, old school joy ride with a funky bass solo thrown in for good measure.
It’s not just insane amounts of speed that Condemned to Misery has to offer, the album has some rather fancy fretwork in it to that is guaranteed to satisfy all those with a fondness for a bit of guitar indulgence. The best examples of this on the album are easily Obscured Velitation and Viral Haemorrhagic Pyrexia, whereby guitarists Adrian Obregon and Chris Monroy deliver infectious, rhythmic riffs and commanding, idiosyncratic solos that are almost hypnotic at points.
In a genre that’s constantly rapidly evolving, it’s very refreshing to see a band pay tribute to the forefathers of death metal so well. Every track on this wonderful album possess the same raw passion and enthusiasm for creating heavy music that Chuck Schuldiner and co had way back in the glory days of death metal. To put it bluntly, Condemned to Misery is a deeply satisfying album that any fans of old school Death and Thrash will go nuts for.
(8/10 Eilish Foxen)