Straight from the trenches of rotting, decade-old flags, thrashing, punk-laced black metal is killing off all of those neon-colored Mohawk wearing, safety-pin toting punk rockers and summoning a legion of leather jacket covered, bullet-belt sporting black metallers. Skincrawler is one of those bands out there infusing the attitude of punk and the pure evil fog of black metal. If someone would have handed me Skincrawler’s “Lair of the Foul” and said that it came from some obscure, 80’s, Swiss, black metal band, I wouldn’t have thought otherwise. Yet, Elektrokutioner, the man behind this darkened altar of old school might, is actually from Texas and this album was recorded in ’08, not ’80.
The first track, “Demons of the Dark” cracks open the crypt and the misty production complete with simplistic and addicting beats just scream Hellhammer or Venom meets early Mayhem. Along with the music, the vocals are over-the-top, 80’s worship. They’re just perfect for the music. Kam Lee of Denial of God and Bone Gnawer was originally on vocals, but Elektrokutioner’s shouts nicely round out Skincrawler’s descent into the depths of old, so it’s probably a good thing Lee’s out of the picture. Just take a track like “Shadowlurkers” and you think “wait, this is seriously not a Hellhammer song? Seriously?”
Don’t take me wrong, though. Skincrawler isn’t leeching off of Hellhammer. It’s just surprising when you find a band that truly gives off the same kind of vibe as such an awesome legend; especially when you’ve seen so many fail miserably and considering that this band just formed last year.
Simply put, if you love bands like Hellhammer, you might as well skin yourself alive and go bleed to death in an alleyway if you don’t check out Skincrawler, because that’s what you’ll want to do anyways.
- Written for Tanin'iver Zine