Skullcrush – Visions of the Firestorm Eclipse (2018) REVIEW

Although they kick off their debut EP with brutally insistent fanfare Skullcrush unfurl a growing banner of unity among old school death metal styles, deftly showcasing the plasticity of their raw late 80’s death metal demo tape sound a via ‘Realm of Chaos’. With some care in blending influences ‘Visions of the Firestorm Eclipse’ offers a damned heavy 20+ minutes of largely mid-paced death metal. Their style toys with the heavier Bolt Thrower-isms of Slugathor and the brutal crunch of pre-‘Dawn of the Apocalypse’ Vital Remains without losing control of their deliberate, chugging pace.

By structuring the album with alternating tracts of thrashing death metal and on-the-edge-of death/doom compositions the listening experience is made highly repeatable. I’m not sure if the death/doom of “Hellwater” and the death/thrashing thrust of “Entrails Ablaze” sound related stylistically but they do make for an effective juxtaposition that enhances the appearance of ‘range’ and dynamic. It is a promising and heavy conception that is easy to imagine realized as a full-length, perhaps not far from projects like Vore or Decaying.

Fans of 90’s death metal will undoubtedly see this EP as a playground of stylistic bliss and a few biting riffs that are memorably achieved. Parts are as heavy and ripping as early Excommunion and others as harrowing as Krypts, but they don’t necessarily connect properly at any point. Where I think they lose me in terms of guitar ideas is sections like the NY/TX style chugging near the end of “Mists of Blood”. That whole back third felt like a missed opportunity considering how effective their atmospheric guitar lines were atop it. It is a small gripe, but I’d rather hear a ‘South of Heaven’ moment than deathcore chugs. It works really well live I’m sure but on record it doesn’t build the intended tension.

It was a thrill to hear an assuredly new project appear with a solid set of influences and quickly prove their capability in delivering upon all of them. With some greater vision for a ‘sound’ that helps meld those mid-paced and brutally thrashed influences I think Skullcrush are more than ‘onto something great’. Death metal tape heads will love this and count me among them.

skullcrush-cover-art

Artist Skullcrush
Type EP
Released July 6, 2018 
BUY/LISTEN on Camo Pants Records Bandcamp!
Genres
Death Metal,
Death Doom Metal

Foretold destiny of perpetual lunacy 3.5/5.0

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