Skeletonwitch - Beyond The Permafrost (Prosthetic Records) - Back
"Beyond the Permafrost" is Skeletonwitch's first album on Prosthetic records and my first exposure to the band. Previously Skeletonwitch had released a full-length album and an EP; many of those songs have been re-recorded and are featured here. Looking at the album art and logo, one would deduce that Skeletonwitch is some type of retro thrash or old school death metal act. Judging a book by its cover is a dicey proposition at best, but in this case such a judgment would be surprisingly accurate.

On "Beyond the Permafrost" Skeletonwitch savagely blazes a trail of destruction across multiple sub-genres. The end result being a sound that while undeniably old-school, does not fit neatly into any one category. Skeletonwitch mix a heavy dose of thrash metal with bits of black, death and traditional heavy metal. The band does a good job of molding these elements into a cohesive sound that is both aggressive and melodic. Guitarists Nate Garnett and Scott Hedrick steal the show here, not because of their technical prowess, but by virtue of the placement and timing of solos and harmonies. They succeed in accenting the songs and adding hooks without killing the underlying aggression of the music. Vocalist Chance Garnett turns in an exceptional performance, frequently punctuating his midrange rasp with a more guttural growl.

"Beyond the Permafrost" sports a fitting production by Cory Smoot, who has also worked with Municipal Waste in the past. The production is raw but not overly so, sounding like what would have been considered a great thrash production in the late 1980's. Smoot has clearly learned how to make an album sound authentically old without necessary making it sound dated.

Skeletonwitch easily outshine most other bands who play this type of blackened thrash or retro thrash. "Beyond The Permafrost" features top notch song writing and a near perfect blend of melody and aggression. This is a fun and versatile album that most metal fans should enjoyable.

Rating:
85

Reviewed By: Garett F.