Closing in on eleven years ago, SKARTHIA dramatically hit the spot for us and the UK metal scene with their debut album, Retaliate. Our closing words for our review of the release declared, “This is simply an outstanding album from an even more impressive band, time to discover for yourselves.”
A great many did and the 2009 forming band has gone on to win awards, play numerous acclaim earning shows including a plaudit earning performance at Bloodstock Festival 2015. Yet at the same time within the constant surge of new bands and releases every year brings, the London outfit slipped from major spotlights even if that first album still gets our keen revisit every now and then. Now they are unleashing their sophomore full-length, Legacy, and we get the feeling that no one will be ignoring them this time around.
SKARTHIA create their roar from a fusion of melodic death, groove metal and creative individuality which was forcibly apparent within that 2012 released first album. It seems like Legacy has been on a real journey in its creation with its writing and pre-production going on between 2012 and 2016. The album was actually recorded twice before the trio of Avichai “Av” Myers, Sapir Rajuan and Adam Gigi decided to record the music themselves to “achieve the quality of sound they desired.” Completed two years back with its mixing and mastering finished soon after, Legacy is now in its early days of pleasuring and persuasion and already drawing major plaudits.
With its outstanding cover art reflecting the album’s lyrical examination of pre-determination and the personal destiny that appears in cycles taking in birth to death, human nature and the sins of the father passed down and repeated, Legacy made a rich impact from its first exploration.
Skylone sets it off with a melodic caress of guitar, sentiment and an almost wistful breath enriching its coaxing. There is also an underlying strength and drama to the piece of music which escalates in depth and presence as the track rises in volatility and physical strength. Subsequently it erupts in a cauldron of scorching grooves and rhythmic confrontation, its increasingly ferocious breath soon matched by the vocal rancor and dexterity of the band. With its tempest in full eruption, the band’s melodic and dexterous prowess becomes a just as welcome trespass of temptation, the song providing a gripping start to the release.
The following Alpha calmly strolls in next, a stirring bassline resonating with personal instincts first before guitars flame and scythe across the delicious tempting. Again Skarthia weave a web of grooves to entrap ears and imagination, their contrast of brutality and melodic enterprise casting an unpredictable and in this case a truly menacing proposal. Psychotically seductive and ravenously predatory, the track is superb and alone proving that the description of that fusion of death metal and groove metal only hints at the richness of flavouring and creativity in their music.
Knives immediately infested the senses next, it too a beast of power and ferocity while winding grooved prowess around ears with viperish intent. It’s damning incitement and destructive inclinations are belied by a melodic and harmonic soothing which glows within the song’s ravening, a magnetic Jekyll and Hyde like heart revealed before the stunning Ghosts waves orchestral veils across the senses amid a haunting realm of drama and intimacy. Unsurprisingly, a robust physicality and predation is soon fueling its confrontation with its body in constant flux; a creative dervish echoed in the varied vocal dexterity of the trio with, as in the previous track, a female cast vocal presence adding siren-esque captivation.
Straightaway Bloodlust managed to raise the ante again with its rapaciously turning sonic kaleidoscope, its unpredictable invention and grooved spirals within its mercurial landscape of emotive and enterprise addictively gripping with Choke soon proving equally as compelling and breathtaking with its voracious swing and grooved esurience. Choosing our favourite track has proved hard to pin down but if forced this corkscrewing persuasion of sound and condemnation wins the moment. Rabid yet venomously composed, deviously structured but insatiably unleashed, the track is simply a senses damaging spirit rousing beast.
Through the equally barbarous but melodically fired Fearless and the enthralling Tohu Va Vohu with its noir cast drama and theatrical character, band and album only escalated their temptation and grip on our ears and appetite, the second of the two especially irresistible with its own uniquely capricious and emotively unstable body of invention and sound.
Of Flesh brings Legacy to a close and it too provides a cyclone of sound loaded in embittered irritancy and galvanic enterprise which again is matched by the fierce and ever enjoyable fusion of vocal adventure the band aligns to their corrosively captivating sound.
Legacy is quite simply a stunning follow-up to a thickly impressive debut. If that first encounter did not quite provoke world bearing recognition, its successor now demands it with SKARTHIA unleashing what is sure to be brought into the best metal incitements thoughts of 2023.
Legacy is available digitally and on CD @ https://skarthia.bandcamp.com/album/legacy
Pete RingMaster 12/01/2023
Copyright RingMaster Review