Album Review: Skeletal Remains - The Entombment of Chaos
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
An eerie sound, thick, lush synths and strange, extra-terrestrial noises emerge from the speakers. The silence that follows lasts mere seconds before the battery of blast beats, chainsaw riffing and gutturally spewed vocals kick in. An explosion of muscular power announces the arrival of ‘The Entombment of Chaos’, album number four from the Californian Death Metal beasts Skeletal Remains.
Two years ‘since the ferocious ‘Devouring Mortality’ grabbed the world of Death Metal by the balls, Skeletal Remains have refreshed the line-up with founder Chris Monroy - Vocals & Guitars joined by returning guitarist Mike De La O – Guitars, Noah Young - Bass and Charlie Koryn – Drums. ‘The Entombment’ of Chaos maintains the band’s blend of classic death metal with the influences of Death, Obituary, Morbid Angel etc remaining prominent. And yet the band have expanded their sound, with changes to their sound which still retains all the earthy qualities that made ‘Devouring Mortality’ such a solid record.
At the heart of the band is Chris Monroy, whose Schuldiner-esque roar is something special. The album kicks off with the machine gun drumming on Illusive Divinity, the slicing guitars of Monroy and De La O wheel and soar over the brutally tight rhythm section. It’s a bombastic statement of intent. There is no doubt that this album is the most impressive work the Californians have created. Darker, yet more consistent, there is a thread which pulls through the album, maintaining a parity from song to song. The production is flawless, retaining sufficient rawness to avoid over-polishing and it’s not a surprise when you discover that the band called on the talents of Dan Swanö once more.
As well as the face melting assault, the band has departed from the all-out raging to add in the haunting instrumental piece in ‘Enshrined in Agony’ which provides a welcome breather during such chaos. The addition of more melodic leads is welcomed, giving tracks more depth and gravity. The performance of Koryn is particularly impressive, given that he was a last-minute addition. Tracks such as ‘Synthetic Impulse’ and the impressive ‘Unfurling the Casket’ demonstrate a maturity in the writing. Throw in a punishing cover of Disincarnate’s ‘Stench of Burning Paradise’ with guest vocals from Carnation’s Simon Duson and you have a death metal album of serious quality.
Skeletal Remains have not tried to reinvent the wheel on this album. Instead, they’ve focused on their strengths, expanded the quality that was evident on previous albums and delivered an album that is seriously good. As Monroy commented, “We feel this is a huge step up from our previous releases and cannot wait to share it with all fans of death metal! We hope you all enjoy it as much as we do”.
The album is released via Century Media Records on 11th September
ICYMI - We chatted to Skeletal Remains about the new album a couple of weeks ago. Full interview here.