Written by: Blackie Skulless
At the end of every year, I always discover something that I find to be so good that it could have made my top twenty list, but finding it just a hair too late stops that. Skelethal are 2020’s edition, and their sophomore record Unveiling The Threshold did not fail to deliver one bit. This death metal outfit from France upholds an OSDM aesthetic, ringing in tones traditional of the Swedish scene and pumping in some deeper songwriting.
One of the first things that caught my attention was the incredible mix, allowing the buzzsaw riffs, rowdy wails, and striking leads to complement each other perfectly. Even the threatening blow of the drums blasts don’t overpower anything, which can happen when production is left just a bit raw. Moreover, the vocals stray away from getting too guttural, rather stick to a raspier approach to stand out from the pack.
Most importantly, Skelethal injects a lot of groovy rhythms without letting it slip into “groove metal” territory. “Emerging From The Ethereal Threshold” combines deep tremolos and a steadier chord-progression to let this out from start to finish. “Antropomorphia” lays this down in the background, working itself behind the solo on the back half of the track. These are the moments that take the band just a step above their peers.
But on the other hand, Unveiling The Threshold definitely blends into familiar territory with more than just the overall delivery. “Adorned With The Black Vetebra” is probably my favorite one, showcasing the band’s ability to maintain punchiness by shaving off the deeper writing and just aiming for a straight banger. The doomier approach to that one is the album’s brightest moment. “Cave Dwellers” is the same way, keeping it simple and straightforward, and these tunes couldn’t blend in more perfectly.
This kind of structure kept in a shorter runtime is about as promising as death metal can get. Capping it off with closer “Abyssal Church… The Portal Revealed” was a ballsy move, as it completely gears towards epicness with the longer length and density in the suspense. I like to think of it as the “Seasons In The Abyss” of this album, with its cleaner and slower intro holding loads of effect. This is only the band’s second release, and I must say they’re gonna have quite a time topping it in the future.
Skelethal -Unveiling The Threshold was released Nov. 20th, 2020 from Hells Headbangers Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!