Skinned – Shadow Syndicate

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: XENOKORP
Distributor/label URL:
Released: 2018
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Band Website:

Band Line-up:

John Meyer – Vocals 
Travis Weickum – Guitars & Vocals
Matt Ackerman – Guitars
Greg Keenan – Bass
Jonathan Valdez – Drums  


1. Wings of Virulence
2. As Their Bodies Fall
3. Mental Deconstruction
4. We Are the End
4. Black Rain
5. Shadow Syndicate
6. Hollowed Earth
7. Led to the Trains
8. Angel’s Haarp
9. In the Mist of Dawn


Skinned return to us with what will be their fifth full length release, Shadow Syndicate. These American stalwarts of Death Metal have in fact been around since about 1995, and also have an EP and a couple of split releases in their back catalogue. However, they are not what we are here to talk about, so on we go.

How to describe them for the newcomer? Well, it’s Death Metal innit! All growls and screams, pounding drums and furious crunching guitars in essence! No rules have been rewritten here, but what they do within the genre is actually rather fucking good. The use of two different vocal styles mixes things up a little, but at the end of the day there is not much to say that will turn you into an instant fan if you are not into Death Metal.

For the fans, well, you will either be into these guys already, or can take my advice and get into them right now. If you need an example maybe try a more melodic Cannibal Corpse. Yeah sure they kick some mighty arse, but they can also intersperse the savagery with some nice ambient type moments. This only makes things better in my opinion because when they drop the hammer, it comes down real fucking hard.

Standouts, well ‘Black Rain’ is a shining example of the level of musicianship on offer here, and it’s also an instrumental which is pretty cool. They used to be bog standard back in the day and always make a nice change of pace. ‘Led to the Trains’ is an absolute arse kicker of a song, you can work out the subject matter for yourself. The closer ‘In the Mist of Dawn’ is as close as a Death Metal band can get to a toe tapping number ha-ha, fucking brutal as all hell and you’ll be swinging off the rafters listening to this one, maybe even caving in the heads of your enemies as you go!

Great stuff, highly recommended to any fan of the genre, and the rest of you should live a little and give it a shot. Fuck yes.

Review by The Great Mackintosh