Skeletonwitch’s Forever Abomination is not for the faint of heart, I can tell you that. The battering from these Ohio thrashers comes generally at one speed: head-explodingly fast.
Their fourth full length is a never-let-up assault on the senses, a devastating kick to the mouth and a fall off a very tall structure. It is musical punishment, a test of fortitude set to bone-chewing guitars and Starscream-meets-your-mother vocals.
Forever Abomination is the band’s first record to feature new drummer Dustin Boltjes and he proves his mettle (and metal) with a diabolically fast percussive barrage from the back.
Vocalist Chance Garnette is back with his “screeching, hellish pitch” and he means every word of it, sinking his choppers into malevolent lyrics and tearing apart flesh until there’s nothing left but a bloody shell and a throng of disturbed listeners.
If none of this sounds very heartening, you’re not alone. This is not music for settling down with a good book and a cup of tea, I can tell you that.
And with song titles like “Reduced to the Failure of Prayer” and “Shredding Sacred Flesh,” Skeletonwitch doesn’t aim to let up in the lyric department either.
The album opens with “This Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill).” Beautiful acoustic guitar balanced by foreboding drums gives a false sense of security and it isn’t long before the menace settles down at the table, serving up grubby thrash with a surprisingly tuneful twist. The guitars of Nate "N8 Feet Under" Garnette and Scott "Scunty D." Hedrick push through, giving off a distinctly retro air at times.
The shadow of “Of Ash and Torment” is geared up by a set of raging riffs and some old school shredding, with Boltjes’ percussive pressure pitiless from the outset. Garnette settles into bestial growls, delivering lyrical punches over the band’s commanding assault.
As the follow-up to Breathing the Fire, Forever Abomination doesn’t bring much by way of novelty to the fore. That said, the album’s killer instinct is filthy rich with murky consequences and lethal fun for thrash metal addicts. Skeletonwitch’s commitment to the grind and the grime is well worth exploring for those who like their music with a round of retribution.