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Skeletonwitch: Devouring Radiant Light

Skeletonwitch’s latest release is garnering attention partly because it helps mark two significant transitions for the band. First, it is the first full-length release featuring new vocalist Adam Clemans (ex-Wolvhammer) after the sudden departure of Chance Garnette from the band back in 2014. Clemans performed on the band’s 2016 EP, The Apothic Gloom, but that only gave listeners a taste of what was coming. Second, this album shows off Skeletonwitch’s headlong dive into black metal. The band always had a black metal quality to them, but their earlier sound was more invested in bands like Metallica, Judas Priest, and Immmortal. Even so, Skeletonwitch never shied away from blending styles in their quest to find a meaningful voice. That willingness to blend things is just as evident on this album even if the various ingredients result in a different flavor palette.

It’s true that bands take a huge risk when they opt to change sounds mid-career. But Skeletonwitch’s shift to black metal works because it never comes across as stuffy or needy. The band isn’t trying to prove anything or to woo a larger audience. Instead, they are simply taking things in the direction they need to experience right now. Part of the reason is that Adam Clemans approaches songwriting differently and so gave the band a new set of ideas. Moreover, his vocal style is different enough from Chance Garnette’s that something needed to change. The result, I’m happy to report, is excellent. Clemans sounds great and his vocal style suits the band perfectly. Skeletonwitch was always great but this album still represents an improvement.

The guitars were especially strong on this album. Nathan Garnette and Scott Hedrick demonstrate a flair and a finesse that gives this album that extra edge. Not only do they sound great doing the black metal thing, but they’ve also pressed their playing into areas that show real growth. To put it simply, Skeletonwitch shows off a maturity on this album we didn’t know they needed.

I’ve been listening to this album all afternoon and I like it more with each listen. “The Luminous Sky,” my favorite track, showcases some terrific guitar playing while “The Vault” sets a new standard for the band. And then there’s the title track, a solid blend of styles that showcases what Skeletonwitch is doing now. For a deeper track, check out “Carnarium Eternal, a track that is fierce and relentless.

Over the last several years, I’ve seen Skeletonwitch open for a few bands. They were always fantastic. In fact, I would arrive early just so I could see them. I was always drawn to their sound and to the energetic way they would perform. When I heard that Chance Garnette left the band I assumed that the band would either die or just limp along. As it happens, they are even better than they were. I can’t wait to see them perform these new tracks live.

Track Listing:
1. Fen of Shadows
2. When Paradise Fades
3. Temple of the Sun
4. Devouring Radiant Light
5. The Luminous Sky
6. The Vault
7. Carnarium Eternal
8. Sacred Soil

Added: August 4th 2018
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Score:
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 305
Language: english

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