martedì 13 settembre 2016

Shed the Skin - "Harrowing Faith" (Hells Headbangers Records, 2016)

Band: Shed the Skin
Album's title: Harrowing Faith
Genre: Thrashing Death metal
Year: 2016
Time: 39 min circa
Rating: 62/100

This review is no other than the translation in English with some differences of my review published through

The Shed the Skin, from the great extreme metal scene of Cleveland (Ohio), are the new supergroup that likes so much to the Hells Headbangers Records. Their genesis dated back to October 20th 2012 when the 15th anniversary from the death of Tom Rojack from Blood of Christ (died in Oct 19th 1997 by falling down a staircase at only 28 years old) was celebrated through a live show. In that occasion, there was also the exhibition of the tribute-band of Blood of Christ including as members, among others, their ex-guitarist Matt Sorg (Ringworm) and no other than the drummer of the great Incantation Kyle Severn. But that night was so exciting that the two veterans Matt and Kyle decided to form a band on Blood of Christ-style with 4 members of 5 of that tribute-band (including also the bassist Ed Stephens), also if the singer Duane Morris of Terror quits right after to be already substituted by the unstoppable singer/guitarist Ash Thomas. So, the new band, completed by the ex-From the Depths keyboarder Brian Boston, decided to call itself Shed the Skin, just like a song of Blood of Christ. Then, the guys released a two-song EP via Hells Headbangers during 2014 to anticipate the long-awaited debut album of the band. Finally, that debut album has arrived in May 21th 2016 always via HHR both in vinyl and CD with the very clean production of Dan Swano, guru of the Swedish death metal, at the renowned Unisound Studios. Ergo, there are all the premises for an old-school death metal masterpiece...and instead...

Then, "Harrowing Faith" has 12 songs, the first of them is the gloomy intro "Plasmic Flames", all dominated by the keyboards of Brian Boston that, for the truth, has a very secondary role being present only here and into the intro of "Execration Divine" plus in some rare interventions here and there. After that, here you are the assault of Shed the Skin with the 2 minutes circa of "Daimonic Adytum": old-school death metal with a strong thrashing approach both for the rythmic section and for the riffing. In consequence, here there are a bunch of tupa-tupas and few (but evil) blast-beats.

Anyway, the death metal of Shed the Skin is enough various. For example, consider the better (for me, at least) songs of the album: the titletrack and "Unbound Revenant".

Specifically, the first one see the introduction of the first blast-beats in addition of a hysterical and majestic guitar solo on a riffing even very close to the melodic death metal. Instead, "Unbound Revenant" is a slow and doomish song that increases gradually in intensity until a very unleashed finale. Hence, the band is enough able to balance very well the faster songs with the slower ones. More or less...

In fact, the slower songs dominates literally the end of the album but diminishing in this way the good sonic aggression of the rest of it. The last 4 tracks are almost devoid of fast tempos so to range from the mefitic doom moments of "Cambion" to the fatalist melodies of the ending semi-instrumental doom track "Execration Divine". The consequence of all this is that there isn't a real good balancement between the faster songs with the slower ones.

In short, I expected something better from "Harrowing Faith", also because it has too much songs maybe while it's a shame relegating Brian Boston only to the intros without integrate his keyboards into the music of Shed the Skin. Hence, said also about the production of Dan Swano and certain dark moments like the death bells - intro of "Putrid and Pious", this album deserves a simple 62 achieved thanks both to the great experience of these veterans and to two fantastic tracks like the aforementioned "Harrowing Faith" and "Unbound Revenant".


1 - Plasmic Flames (intro)
2 - Daimonic Adytum
3 - Harrowing Faith
4 - Putrid and Pious
5 - Unbound Revenant
6 - Warband Under the Baphomet
7 - CSUM
8 - Alpha and Omega
9 - Cambion
10 - Inhuman Accretion
11 - Innermost Sanctuary
12 - Execration Divine

Line - up:

Ash Thomas - vocals/guitars
Matt Sorg - guitars
Ed Stephens - basso
Kyle Severn - drums
Brian Boston - keyboards

Hells Headbangers Records:

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