Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Skeletonwitch - Devouring Radiant Light

Skeletonwitch’s original claim was being a bit different from bands of the re-thrash movement of the late oughts, with vocalist Chance Garnette leading the fracas with black metal rasps and tremolo picked frets to back him; equal parts chaos and melody. Garnette was easily the most recognizable member of the band; then he was replaced. Devouring Radiant Light ushers in a completely new era for the band, even though The Apothic Gloom was their first proper material with ex-Iron Thrones and current Wolvhammer frontman Adam Clemans.

Much of the thrash metal has been eschewed in favor of traditional black metal structures with the former serving as a change of pace within tracks and not a major focus. Album opener ‘Fen of Shadows’ is the perfect storm of what this iteration of Skeletonwitch is all about. Starting somber in tone, something subtle (a word hardly used to describe any of the band’s first five albums) before showcasing their new form for all to behold; especially the use of a section of guitar solos that act as a mercurial bridge to the closing moments. This truly feels like a different band. They found that next level that had escaped them for far too long.

There are certainly songs that feel rooted in the past such as ‘The Luminous Sky’ which really slots in well to continue to bridge the gap between Garnette and Clemans’ tenure as vocalists. This isn’t however to take away from guitarists Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick along with relative mainstay, bassist Adam Linger; who have all held things down while moving the band forward, five years after a proper LP.

For fans looking for the quick hit thrash ditties with black metal influence of yore, this album will ultimately surprise you, draw you in and demand a repeat listen; in that order. So much has changed for the band. Awaiting for the right moments to emerge in a new form, Devouring Radiant Light is a breath of fresh air for a time tested group and could be their best. It’s an album to truly propel them into heights only once dreamed of.

 - Tom

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