We’re only 5 months into 2018 and we’ve already been spoiled with several winners in the Death Metal department, particularly Old School Death Metal. Some dirty, raw and ruthless slabs of unrelenting, riffy underground goodness have been unleashed on this sick, dying world since January (and prior) and they’ve all delivered on all fronts. I haven’t gotten a chance to review many of them, at least not yet, some of them have only gotten mini-reviews thus far, but they’re fucking bangers nonetheless. Another new one that’s on the horizon that has people talking in the underground and beyond, is this piece of loud, unrelenting fury. Skeletal Remains have been on my radar since 2015’s Condemned to Misery, which was good, but was kind of overshadowed by Gruesome bursting onto the scene with their debut album, which had me occupied for a while before getting around to anything else.
Well, Devouring Mortality is their third album and this time, no such travesty will take place! These guys will not be overshadowed this time and they’re making sure of it with this absolute head-smasher of an outing. If you capture the essence of early Death, Obituary and Pestilence, put it in a blender with steroids and a ton of dirt from the fowlest, filthiest place you can find it and mix it all together real nice, this is what you’ll get as a result. Top notch, no frills and riff-fuled Death Metal of the highest caliber. This was another one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it was far more than worth the wait. This album had me banging my big, ugly head damn near all the way throughout it’s running time and I still can’t get enough of it as I write this. It’s old school worship that you should also worship and it’s going to be a hard one to top. It’s just riffy, face-pounding goodness at it’s absolute finest. The hyperagressive assault starts right from the push of play, as Ripperology rips right the fuck into you with it’s chugging, Obituary-esque fury and Death-like riffs that grabs you right by the throat from the first second on. Sounds like the offspring of something straight out of World Demise and something straight out of Leprosy.
Then comes Seismic Abyss, which brings a bit of an early to mid-era Morbid Angel feel to the table in the intro with the Rapture-like opening riff, then dives down into more Leprosy worship. Christian Monroy’s growls are masterfully brutal and grimy and harken way the fuck back to the passionate and dismal throats of the glory days of the genre. The riffs are no different; i’m not going to mention the same goddamn names over and over again, you already know the names, but their influence shines through this entire 44-minute batch of tracks and it’s utilized to the fullest extent and the style is executed damn near perfectly. Cathastrophic Retribution is another absolute ripper that sounds like a blastier and more aggressive version of mid-era Death; a sweet little solo is also thrown in for kicks. Easily one of my favorite tracks. The assault of thick, massive riffs and chords over muddy, pounding drums continues through the title track, where the vocals get a little Martin van Drunen-like and the Pestilence/Asphyx vibes start to set in. Grotesque Creation is another stand-out for me with it’s hints of Groove mixed in with the continuing assault of riffs on top of riffs and blasts galore. We get a short instrumental with Lifeless Manifestation, which really just serves as filler. Easily the weakest track, which isn’t saying much, then Reanimating Pathogen and Internal Detestation finish the beating and end it just as brutally as it began, STILL leaving you wanting more.
The best way to describe this album is like being smashed in the head repeatedly by a cinder block while you lay face down on the pavement, helpless and with no other choice but to accept your fate as your skill caves in and your brain gets reduced to mush, and at the end, your remains are spat on and left to rot in a ditch… but you loved it! This is brutally unmerciful and well-crafted Old School Death Metal that pays homage to the names that molded the style into what many bands try to emulate still today (which some do successfully and other don’t). This one sure as fuck won’t be overshadowed like I feel like their last album was, even with all the other strong Death Metal releases yet to come in the remainder of the year and the ones that have come out already. It’s one of the strongest ones that I’ve heard so far in 2018 and a solid step up from their previous two. It’s loud, crushing, ruthless and dirty as fuck and I can’t praise it enough. It’s Old School Death of the strongest ilk and it gives me hope for the future of the genre for years to come. Total fucking support!