Skinned – “Shadow Syndicate” (2018)
Technical Death Metal/Brutal Death Metal
The death metal band Skinned has been on the road for more than 20 years, from Fort Collins to the world, earning fans and the experience needed to offer great records. They did this on “Shadow Syndicate,” their 5th album, which shows that the band can play fast-and-heavy without losing brutality.
The opening song “Wings of Virulence” showcases excellent guitar work that continues throughout the album and includes interesting additions like the beautiful piano in the middle of the song. The bass sound is another positive; it is not hidden behind the wall of guitar and explores the free spaces. This is evident in the intro of “As Their Bodies Fall”, a song that reveals the more extreme side of the band, featuring strong guttural voices and blast beats that are reminiscent of a good Cannibal Corpse song.
The technical parts have their moments on the instrumental song “Black Rain,” which has a dark mood, repeating one clean guitar while a second guitar plays great riffs.
Changing up, without losing the main essence of the music, “Hollowed Earth” has good cadence between the drums and guitars. The dissonant guitar leads in this track are very similar to Andreas Kisser’s solos on Sepultura.
Those two songs break up the album, so the music doesn’t feel repetitive, and though it doesn’t showcase the heavy and the extreme side of the band, it is a good change-up and makes the album easier to listen to as a whole.
The last song “In the Mist of Dawn” has a fast rhythm with double kicks, bringing back the heaviness for a strong end to the album.
One word that to summarize Skinned is versatility. The aggressive Death Metal style played by Americans bands is perfectly balanced against the dark atmosphere one hears in European bands. If you like a good Death Metal, with good melodies and technical parts, you are going to love everything on “Shadow Syndicate”.