Posted on June 3rd, 2015 (11:00 am) by Magdalene Taylor

After releasing their last album in 2006, following a lineup change, and finally breaking up five years later, it looked like pioneering New York death metal band Skinless might be done for good. But they're back with their '90s lineup and a new album, Only The Ruthless Remain. Returning original vocalist Sherwood Webber described the album in saying, “Gallons of brew slammed and oceans of blood spilled, we’re back sicker than ever. This is a dark, immense slab of death metal. Stockpile your beers, gather your minions, it’s time to get ruthless.” As this quote itself might suggest, Skinless has long been known for a combination of death metal intensity and perfectly executed, homage-paying parody. In light of this, Only The Ruthless Remain does not disappoint.

When it comes to something like death metal, the first song is almost always a clear indication of the baseline quality of the rest of the album. Sure, they might save the most brutal songs for the end, but if that first track doesn’t hit hard enough you might as well turn the album off at that. So, as Only the Ruthless Remain opens with the heavy, chugging, mid-tempo breakdown and guttural, throat-tearing vocal-filled “Serpenticide,” you’re basically guaranteed a solid album. It’s truly classic Skinless sound: dynamic in structure and features that the band has made itself known for. Right before the music cuts in, however, there’s an audio clip (a common component throughout the album) of some kind of whispering that can only be compared to the scene from Harry Potter where Harry speaks Parseltongue with the snakes. With Skinless, you can assume this is self-aware and tongue-in-cheek.

As mentioned, “Serpenticide” manages to be pretty representative of the album as a whole. There are no real moments of weakness and only a few variations, like the thrashier title track, guitar-focused “Flamethrower” and black metal scream-filled “The Beast Smells Blood.” There are these little signature elements to most of the tracks, but each holds on to the traditional death metal heaviness and chugging tempo that Skinless has crafted their sound by.

The seven tracks of Only The Ruthless Remain are each dynamic enough in themselves to form a comprehensive listening experience, yet maintain the traditional Skinless appeal; it’s really the whole package. Skinless is a band that can survive both a break-up and more than twenty years in death metal, and if you need a reminder why that is, Ruthless has more than enough to persuade you.

Track List:

  1. Serpenticide
  2. Only The Ruthless Remain
  3. Skinless
  4. Flamethrower
  5. The Beast Smells Blood
  6. Funeral Curse
  7. Barbaric Proclivity
Skinless - Only The Ruthless Remain
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

76 / 100
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