Shed the Skin – Thaumogenesis (Hells Headbangers Records)Wednesday, 1st June 2022
Cleveland, Ohio is home to a strong metal scene – of all types, traditional to thrash, power to extreme, and all points in between. Shed the Skin hail from these parts, releasing their fourth album Thaumogenesis and it’s a ripping exercise in the purity of death metal. Pulling an array of influences across domestic/overseas lands, it’s easy to assess the expertise of solid songwriting mechanics packaged in tight windows of brutality – accenting the right aspects of old school d-beat thrash, Swedish HM-2 driven tones, and savage transitions along with vicious roars/growls to bring home the adrenaline, anger, and attitude.
Many of these songs shift gears from straightforward mid-tempo riffs into doom/groovy passages, only to add in a surprising tremolo-infused semi-blasting combination that all fit together, keeping ears perked up in anticipation of what will come next. Evil note bends in slow motion make “Invincible in Iron” an early favorite, a dual growling/screaming vocal presence give chase to some speedy fills and a furious, hard-hitting lead break. Long-time followers of the early years of Death circa Leprosy will love the “Pull the Plug” main riff hook during the follow-up “Slaughtered in the Solar Eclipse” – the drum mechanics punishing while never losing the plot, wonderful double kick action throughout to elevate the blood flow. The quintet possesses great abilities for seeking out the right main musical hook, branching things out in an emotional flow that’s heavy and not too intricate – which is where aspects of straight doom a la Candlemass come to mind against the band’s appreciation for the work of Obituary, Asphyx, and the already mentioned Death. The inherent bouncy quality of specific tracks garners that ideal underground madness most desire in their death metal – “Blades of the Lightning Altar” a specific second half standout, the rhythms and quick fix, tasty lead spots along with spitfire screams sure to make every hair follicle stand on edge.
Shed the Skin aren’t going to be one of those bands that blow people out of the water through technical prowess or sonic oblivion principles. Thaumogenesis as an album resides in that older 90’s European/American primitive death metal range, and as such this is solid stuff that gets the job done to makes people clamor for the next outing.