Metal Review: Skeletonwitch: Serpents Unleashed (2013)

Skeletonwitch Serpents Unleashed

Purchase Skeletonwitch Serpents Unleashed

Since Halloween of an odd numbered year has passed us, we should have seen this one coming – a new release from Ohio blackened thrash metal outfit Skeletonwitch. Through their decade of existence, one thing has remained constant and that it their penchant for releasing albums at the end of October every 24 months. This years marks their fifth full-length release, “Serpents Unleashed,” which could quite possibly be their most brutal release to date.

“Serpents Unleashed” is a short release clocking in at just over 31 minutes, but it packs the punch of a bulldozer with its intensity. As with their previous efforts, there are subtle changes to the sound, but lack of variety has been another constant with the band. The band really only gets label as blackened thrash metal because of vocalist Chance Garnette’s raspy vocal as shredders Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick definitely add a slight level of black metal to the music, but their sound is majorly thrash influenced.

From the opening track, the title track, Serpents Unleashed, Skeletonwitch pushes the pedal to the ground and never lets up. Speed and intensity are their way of life and “Serpents Unleashed” brings it full force. Each song takes care of business and breaks off into the next track. There are a few nice grooves on the album though, such as parts of Unending, Everliving, which I really enjoy. Of course, kudos go out the the band’s battery as the low end of the bass and the drums are always fantastic.

Overall, Skeletonwitch never strays far from their comfort zone, but always manage to put out quality material. I am not their biggest fan, but always find myself wondering why I do not listen to them more.

Serpents Unleashed Track Listing:
01. Serpents Unleashed
02. Beneath Dead Leaves
03. I Am of Death (Hell Has Arrived)
04. From a Cloudless Sky
05. Burned From Bone
06. Unending, Everliving
07. Blade on the Flesh, Blood on My Hands
08. This Evil Embrace
09. Unwept
10. Born of the Light That Does Not Shine
11. More Cruel Than Weak