Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label URL: Century Media Records / Dark Descent Records
Released: 2018
Buy Album: https://skeletalremains.bigcartel.com/
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/SkeletalRemainsDeathMetal/

Band line-up:

Adrian Marquez – Bass
Chris Monroy – Vocals & guitars
Mike De La O – Guitars
Johnny Valles – Drums
Adrian Obregon – Guitar
Carlos Cruz – Drums (live)

Tracklisting:

1.) Ripperology
2.) Seismic Abyss
3.) Catastrophic Retribution
4.) Devouring Mortality
5.) Torture Labyrinth
6.) Grotesque Creation
7.) Parasitic Horror
8.) Mortal Decimation
9.) Lifeless Manifestation
10.) Reanimating Pathogen
11.) Internal Detestation
12.) Hung, Drawn and Quartered (Cancer cover) (bonus track on digipack)

Review

Devouring Mortality is the third album from US-based Skeletal Remains, going for a decidedly old-school brand of death metal. The album is devoid of external genre influences, melodeath soft-harsh switching or symphonic backgrounds. This is death metal, pure and putrid.

“Ripperology” is a great first impression, and a superb choice for the opening barrage. While it does dive straight into the core sound of the album (no fussing around with soft introductions here), it’s a track that takes some time before any vocals kick in. It serves to perfectly set the tone for the album, giving the listener time to take in what they’re all about before it launches into the meat of the track. It’s not a pointless interlude, but a true introduction, a brief show of what the band are up to. Right away, this speaks of a band with a greater degree of craftsmanship than many of their peers.

Everything from there continues at much the same pace, but pacing is a key feature in what makes Devouring Mortality so enjoyable. Skeletal Remains know how to write good riffs, but more importantly they know how to write good songs. Every track on the album employs all the right techniques at just the right times. They know when to bludgeon the listener with a blast, when to rip and tear with core riff work, when to erupt into a solo, when to slow down just enough to let the listener catch a breath, and when to burst back into full force again. Make no mistake, Devouring Mortality is brutal, ferocious and nasty, just as death metal should be. But where so many others think extremity is the end-all and just pile on an unending and formless stream of blast beats and buzzsaw riffs, Skeletal Remains take it further and do better. There’s no need for progressive song-writing or verse-chorus structures here, it all sticks to the death metal toolbox, but it knows when to use each tool appropriately, rather than just dumping them all on the floor and hoping for the best.

It really is amazing what you can do with a good riff and attention to pacing.

The production is also a highlight, with everything perfectly audible but still sounding forceful enough to smash heads in. It’s especially rewarding with such a rifftastic album, to actually be able to hear those riffs properly.

Devouring Mortality might not be anything new, but it does what it does better than most. For anyone seeking a fix of heads-down, no-nonsense death metal, this album is one of the best offerings of its kind in a long time.

Review by

Kieron Hayes

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