Skeletonwitch - Beyond The Permafrost
2 October 2007

01. Upon Wings Of Black
02. Beyond The Permafrost
03. Baptized In Flames
04. Sacrifice For The Slaughtergod
05. Vengeance Will Be Mine
06. Limb From Limb
07. Cast Into The Open Sea
08. Fire From The Sky
09. Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery
10. Remains Of The Defeated
11. Feast Upon Flesh
12. Within My Blood
13. Bringers Of Death [European Bonus Track bonus]

After signing with Prosthetic Records in 2007, Skeletonwitch released Beyond The Permafrost in that same year. The Ohio-based quintet show us a unique type of thrash metal with their second full-length. The album contains many elements from a variety of subgenres of metal, with thrash being the foundation.

Although the band is influenced by black metal, their sound is not frostbitten and grim like Immortal or other bands within the genre, but there is somewhat of a frosty feeling left on this album, alternating with the flaming fury of thrash. For the complete sound, imagine a NWOBHM band playing thrash metal with black and death metal vocal styles thrown in, finished off with a very evil, yet highly melodic, touch. All of this is played through a not-so-crystal-clear production, which suits the album's atmosphere perfectly. What makes it so great is that this blend of genres doesn't sound like an intentional combination of styles, it feels like the band was created by the Metal Gods themselves to play this music.

Every song on this album is relatively short, which, if you are familiar with Skeletonwitch, is no surprise, seeing as all of their albums are slightly over thirty minutes long. However, the band manages to make every song interesting and the short length is actually fitting. Longer songs would become less exciting. The band shows the listener an awesome riff or melody, but disposes of it soon enough so he/she doesn't become bored with it. The length of the album might, however, be a negative side for some people. Anyone who requires his songs to have a nice build-up, should avoid Beyond The Permafrost, or any other of the band's albums for that matter.

The songs themselves are brilliantly written, the riffs and melodies sound alike, but the band avoids being monotonous by constantly throwing something different at you. Everything happens on a very high speed, leaving little to no room to take a breath. Most songs start abruptly and immediately go into overdrive until the last second. Guitar solos on this album are amazing; they have a NWOBHM vibe, but they aren't played over your typical heavy metal accompaniment. Instead, there are face melting black-infused thrash riffs providing the background for the extremely melodic solos. To top it off, the vocals provide your every-day metal lyrics about evil, murder, blood, violence, and dark fantasies.

Beyond The Permafrost is an album that is perfect for what it is and achieves what it's trying to be. This album provides us with a lot of different elements of metal, so just listen to the band and don't try to categorise them beforehand, they are unique. However, don't bother with this album if you don't like your daily dose of madness to be handed to you instantly. The album is essentially a thirty-minute rollercoaster ride that only descends at high speed, never looking back and without a single moment to take a breath.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 9

Band profile: Skeletonwitch
Album: Beyond The Permafrost


written by Zaphod | 05.06.2012

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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