Published Aug 17, 2016Since 2003, Skeletonwitch have consistently blended all the very best elements of blackened death, thrash and traditional metal, then served it up ice cold. The combination makes for one deadly cocktail and, more often than not, it'll hit you in just the right places. It should come as no surprise, then, that the band's latest release — a four-song EP entitled The Apothic Gloom — is a slab of delightfully heavy yet thirst-quenching metal. It's everything you love about Skeletonwitch in a perfect 21 minutes.
A foreboding acoustic prelude and soaring traditional style guitar lead kicks things off in epic fashion, while acting as the perfect bookend to the EP's seven-minute closer "Red Death, White Light," the longest track in the band's history and possibly one of their best. Lead single "Well of Despair" and the groove-laden "Black Waters," meanwhile, are perhaps the two tracks that remain truest to traditional Skeletonwitch form, the hooky chorus of the first and the epic guitar solo of the latter being obvious highlights.
But not everything is the same this time around. Having recently parted way with their original vocalist Chance Garnette, the band dealt with months of rampant speculation until it was finally revealed that his replacement would be current Wolvhammer vocalist Adam Clemans. On The Apothic Gloom, his tortured, throaty rasp proves an excellent substitute for Garnette's more guttural growl, while his lyrics provide a sense of growing maturity.
Evolution, after all, is a natural part of growth, and change is the often the catalyst. Wherever they may go from here, Skeletonwitch have proven they have the fortitude to forge ahead unscathed. (Prosthetic Records)