Don’t throw yourself into a “Well Of Despair”, Skeletonwitch are back with The Apothic Gloom . In fact, you can instead throw yourself into a pit while the ready made for flying elbows “Well Of Despair” undoubtedly blasts from a stage near you soon.
The extra high rating here is due to the band bucking the odds and starting anew in the face of doubters while also delivering the hard task of making an EP that is vital and full enough it will bear many a repeat listening.
Opening with the cold acoustic guitar intro of the title track which wouldn’t sound out of place on a medieval version of some strange Nine Inch Nails/Elliot Smith collaboration, maximum attention capturing moodiness is pursued by big dueling guitars. Finally a truly heroic and vintage sounding Witch pure heavy metal series of riffs open up and the vocal era of Adam Clemans (Wolvhammer, Veil Of Maya) era properly begins.
As a big Wolvhammer fan, the extra pressure here has only made Clemans deliver even more strongly. 2:28 onward of “Well of Despair” (after Clemans’ epic grunt), you can rage to some pit starting shit that’d even give Goatwhore a run for their money if you don’t believe me.
Fans of older Skeletonwitch will be pleased that the qualities you often loved remain strong, while the epic closer “Red Death, White Light” and certain moments of the title track here take them to even more blackened shores than their thrashy history. This is a fusion of the past with an ever darkening yet bright future.
“Black Waters” is my favorite here, a marching and fist pumping riff that demands neck movement charges in with melodeath confidence and Clemans roars like a tormented titan that “all light is gone from the sky” (I think). The band before were evil and teeth gnashing while simultaneously feeling a little bit fun at times, but now things just feel even more undead and the technical brilliance paired with actually memorable riffs remains as sharp as ever. If anything the EP writing is kind of epic and I wonder if they will scale back a bit on the next full length and write shorter singles. In the meantime, “Black Waters” certainly will also appeal to shred heads with a gorgeous widdly widdly solo over some charged up chordal grimness.
It’s vindicating to know that the band responsible for such modern classics as Beyond The Permafrost and Serpent’s Unleashed is not going quietly into the night even after a substantial lineup shift.
This IS metal.