Seeming to realize their potential for hitting it big, Skeletonwitch wisely clean up their sound a bit and increase their accessibility with Forever Abomination. The guitars and drumming seem to be a bit tighter, the production is a tad cleaner, and the songwriting is a bit more varied than what had appeared on 2009's Breathing The Fire.
The band’s nominal template of blackened thrash seems to still be in place, but Skeletonwitch are much closer to melodic death metal bands such as, for example, Arch Enemy, albeit with a generally quicker pace, than to more underground acts such as Aura Noir or anything along those lines.
Sure enough, Forever Abomination is chock full of catchy riffs, a thick bass, thrash metal gallops, and the gruff vocals from Chance Garnette are a dead ringer for Angela Gossow, although he periodically downshifts into a lower pitched growl. Increasing the album’s accessibility, however, are lots of slower, cleaner moments with plenty of melody and guitar solos.
The songwriting mixes these elements together quite nicely, with out and out thrashers carefully spaced with a couple of slower paced, more melodic tracks. A few moments of melody also appear in the album’s more aggressive tracks, further increasing the accessibility and appeal of Skeletonwitch to those that eschew metal’s more extreme genres. There’s even a blastbeat or two.
Essentially what Skeletonwitch have forged with Forever Abomination is a thoroughly modern metal album designed to appeal to a broad base of fans of different genres. By taking thrash metal, a genre that straddles the middle ground between accessibility and extremity, and then alternatively ramping up the aggression and increasing the accessibility, Skeletonwitch have found a hugely successful formula.
(released October 11, 2011 on Prosthetic Records)