Rife with sabre sharp sonics and a carnal malevolence transferred through destructively precise riffing and viciously antagonistic rhythms, Dermal Harvest the debut album from Swedish death metallers Skineater, is an impressive and savage pleasure which leaves pure satisfaction and pleasure in its annihilatory wake. Arguably the album is not venturing into new realms but with its aggressively sculpted malice and charnel house of blood drenched intensity and bone splintering violence it does not need to be to ignite the passions.
Skineater was formed in 2008 by guitarist Håkan Stuvemark (ex – Wombbath, In Thy Dreams, and Vicious) upon leaving as bass player in GrandExit. Moving back to his main instrument he recruited drummer Jeramie Kling, drummer in The Absence, Infernaeon , and Ninety Minute, with the pair recording two songs the following year. It was not until 2011 though that the project found impetus with Stefan Westerberg (ex- Carnal Forge, In Thy Dreams, World Below, and Steel Attack) taking up the bassist position in the band. Soon after signing with Pulverised Records with whom the album is released, the band expanded further with the addition of guitarist Kari Kainulainen (ex – Mourning Sign and Amaran), vocalist Jörgen Ström (The Mary Major), and replacing Kling, drummer Matte Modin (Raised Fist, ex – Dark Funeral, Defleshed, and Sportlov). Recorded at various locations with mixing and mastering at Studio Underground (Carnal Forge, Steel Attack, Fleshcrawl, Necrodeath) in Sweden, Dermal Harvest is an irresistible result of a group of veteran musicians unleashing a fresh and voracious passion and sound which has maybe been festering within over the years, such its organic and instinctive animosity musically and lyrically.
He Was Murdered makes the first rapier like incision into the senses though its finesse only follows a bludgeoning entrance from riffs and rhythms with vocals squalls casting acid on the ear like venom filled cluster bombs. With a slight aside in energy for the guitars to seep their own tightly weaved sonic malevolence, the track forges a violent intrusion with blistering guitar play and crippling drums assaults menacingly accompanied by the delicious malefaction of the bass. It is a snarling brawling encounter which exhausts the energies whilst leaving one simultaneously enthused and ignited by primal intent.
The following Dismantling and Your Life Is Mine continue the ravaging assault on the person mentally and physically, both tracks raw and unrelenting in their abrasive animosity and unforgiving ferociousness. Like the opener they also entwine moments of sheer melodic beauty which are as unpredictable and rewarding as they are unexpected and warmly welcomed as some respite within the towering destruction surrounding them. The guitar play and invention of Stuvemark and Kainulainen is exceptional and their imaginative quieter melodic addresses sit perfectly within the tempests without any seam or drop in fluidity present.
In hindsight though immensely impressive and pleasing in their company, the first trio of songs are mere appetisers which certainly leave the listener enlivened but not as fulfilled as tracks like Made Of Godsick manage to achieve such their triumph. It is at this point that the album fully fires up its heart and furnace to wreak the strongest havoc and pleasure upon the person. The song is a riveting construct of quarrelsome fervour and burning invention which sows the deepest pleasures within. It is a mordant storm musically and in intensity equalled by the excellent and sonically rabid Through The Empire and then exceeded by the sensational Stab. This track strips, grinds, and seduces the senses and emotions throughout, its passage insistent, unrelenting, and sizzling with melodic flames, scorching imagination, and predatory hunger. The best track on the album it sums up the wonderful grotesque that is Skineater perfectly.
The rapacious, and perversely addictive Drifting is another major player of the passions, its greed and hunger musically and violently pure hellacious manna for the heart. Again it shows just how masterful and skilful the band is as individuals but also as a unit and combining the melodic side of the genre to outright volcanic metal fury.
Dermal Harvest is an exceptional release which leaves one smouldering contently under its aggression and quality, and also possibly whimpering. Yes it is not breaking new ground but it is using the essences of the genre in a way not many others can contemplate let alone employ. If the likes of Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Bloodbath, and Hypocrisy exploit your passions, than Skineater is a band for you.
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