I call myself a Metalhead because I think that probably best suits my musical taste, I mean don’t get me wrong I listen to some weird stuff. One minute I’m listening to Manowar the next Eurovision songs (I probably just have awful taste). Regardless I like to mix things up but I’m still at my heart a Metalhead, although if I were to be more specific I think the term Metalpunk is probably more apt. I have a love for 70’s Punk and even a lot of modern Punk, the scene in my home town of Ipswich has shown me lots of good new bands. Yet the perfect combination is surely Punk grit mixed with Metal ferocity.

Speaking of which we have a promising band to look at today. That band is Skeleton an underground force on the live circuit of Texas for some years the band have finally landed a record deal. That deal comes through 20 Buck Spin who aren’t the sort of label to just sign any old band. They are a label for quality. Upon hearing of this band I was instantly intrigued, noted as ‘FFO’ Venom, Bathory, early Mayhem, and Discharge to name but a few I was pretty drawn in to the Crust Punk/ Metal idea, so here we go Skeleton’s self-titled debut record.

The first and indeed titular track Skeleton gets underway, there is a definite Black Metal feel to the music, especially in the vocals where the band play with a small range of Extreme Metal flare. The guitars however become a more Punk driven focus, careless riffs are laced with the odd bit of melody for a little more Metal effect. Mark Of Death and more specifically The Sword get into some pretty Crossover Thrash territory, kind of like High Command, this is a sound I can really get into, it’s so steeped in proper Metal but at the same time forward thinking. I can’t say that it’s as exciting as the likes of High Command or even Power Trip but it’s still good fun.

Crossing the sort of midsection of the release is At War, good riffs, good progression and full of Heavy Metal influence and epic nature. Taste Of Blood takes things back to a more Punk sound which again I’m fully in support of, however it must be said that by this point in the album I kind of want a bit more power, ironically though Taste Of Blood is probably the albums best song. Again, Turned To Stone is also a big hitter but there is just something that isn’t quite there, I think that perhaps it could be the vocals. They’re almost too ‘trve’ for the music and need to be made a little more lively. Finally, the album closes with Catacombs, it’s a bit lacklustre and kind of flat, especially after Turned To Stone.

On paper I love this band, in reality they’re alright. I can see what they’re trying to do and everything even down to the aesthetic the band has in their artwork (superficial I know) ticks all of the boxes for me. Sadly, however I think some refinement is needed, I can see Skeleton being a real powerhouse for a lot of people and I totally get it. For me though I’ll stick with the likes of High Command, they’re doing this same sort of thing and a lot better.

(7/10 George Caley)