At what point did Death Metal stop being Death Metal and become Old School Death Metal? Who knows I would guess the transition happened somewhere in the 90s, around about the time that Brutal Death Metal was on its uprising along with a host of other new Death Metal sub genres. None the less the Old School is always the one that commands the most respect out of all, the roots of this gore soaked genre are attached to the sounds of Swedish chaos and US barbarity. Naturally this leads to worship and bands replicating the sound of days gone past, but is this Old School sound tired or is its corpse breathing new life?
Skeletal Remains come from California in the US the birthplace of the almighty Autopsy, Impaled, Possessed the list goes on. Being surrounded by this much talent has clearly had an impact on this 4 piece machine of destruction. Rising in 2011 Skeletal Remains have gone on to record two full length releases both of which garnering a reasonable sum of success. We now come to 2018 and the release of that all important third album, put out through Century Media Records, and titled Devouring Mortality. However is this the beginning of a new age or are they flogging the corpse of the ages.
Straight out of the gate Devouring Mortality packs a punch with the opening riffs of Ripperology spawning an album long trend of powerful chaos fueled Old School Death Metal fire. This is backed by cascading drums and the Chuck Schuldiner/ John Tardy inspired vocals of frontman Chris Monroy. The hellish fury grows fiercer as the album progresses with Catastrophic Retribution and Torture Labyrinth exuding further tinges of Old School perfection without a note out of place. Mingling among the riffs are devastating solos that show chaotic precision particularly on Reanimating Pathogen.
To be frank this album takes the blueprints of Death Metal and follows them with pin point accuracy but not without being highly entertaining, visceral and refreshing. This album genuinely transports me back to my first introductions to Death Metal, the likes of Autopsy, Obituary and Death. Backed with the massive savagery of Gorguts and Massacre. Devouring Mortality is not only brutal its technically demanding too, each instrument finely crafted to create an Old School gem in a modern age.
So if you want something refreshing and new in the ways of Death Metal but you find yourself stuck in the 80s then Skeletal Remains Devouring Mortality is for you. This has it all its what I would ultimately describe as a grower, it will catch you straight away with its pure and true edge and them keep you listening for weeks to come, sinking you teeth into every aspect and begging for more.
(9/10 George Caley)