SKUMSTRIKE – Deadly Intrusions (2022)REVIEW

Breaking, entering, and leaving a circuitous trail of blood — a nuclear-hot morbidity trickles down from the carpet bombed half-pipe sluice of disaffected Montréalais black metalpunk sewer crew Skumstrike‘s dogged riffcraft and slasher-thrashed frenzy pace as their debut ‘Deadly Intrusions‘ gives this dry bones year for thresher cut extreme crossover its first unreasonably stabbed shot in the arm. It is a debut set to “kill”, an assault for the sake of propagandizing their name with violence rather than inspiring any sort of deeper thought or discourse, as the ~half hour on offer blazes past without so much as a glance over their shoulder. Dunno if it’ll be one for the halls of heroes but their trajectory from this point is above-average and “mean” as it should be.

The best riffs on ‘Deadly Intrusions’ drag on grooves that all of the best black/thrash metal minds are inspired by to the tune of Hellhammer-isms, or, derivations of what guitarists like Bones were doing in the early 80’s, same difference in practice (but not pace). “Blood Red Vision” takes us there pretty quick, hitting the right feeling to start before grinding out of the moment with a thrash metallic vault, it is a simple Slaughter-heavy song woven between these two modes otherwise indebted to stuff like early Onslaught and the first Black Uniforms record in its high-speed ugliness, raw vocals and d-beat levelled spirit rounding out their attack. If none of that caught wind with you, there is a strong classic hardcore punk/crossover root holding Skumstrike in the right headspace on this record but that isn’t to say that those basal forms are the whole enchilada. They’ve got the right attack going on up front and the sort of folks who’d see a Poison Idea cover in the running order and get psyched about it will understand what I mean. Something from The Accüsed might’ve been a more fitting choice but I digress.

The listening experience is succinct for the sake of Skumstrike existing in a state of perpetual rush to get to their riffs, holding their own with the better nowadays bands in this blackened metalpunk style (a la Zöldïer Noïz) as they keep it simple and keep-on thrashing at adrenaline worthy speeds without losing that first wave black snarl by way of “Another Shot of Fear” and “Mental Wound Submission”. These pieces show some evolution beyond songs like “Lethal Injection” on the ‘Execution Void‘ EP back in 2018 (which I’d reviewed at the time.) I’d generally preferred the guitar forward production sound of that last EP a bit more, this render makes a bit too much room for the largely inconsequential, effects-garbled vocal style and slightly more distant drum presence of ‘Deadly Intrusion‘, the trade-off being excellent definition on the bass guitar tracks but less power feeding the guitar tone. This won’t be all that noticeable ’til you’re hitting on some of the more average tracks (see: “The Infestor”) later on where the riffs don’t fully carry their grinding assault. I’m not sure they’ve hit upon any sort of next-level gear in hand beyond representing their black metalpunk point of view on clearer terms after digging back through Skumstrike‘s earlier releases, though I will say the material on ‘Deadly Intrusions‘ strikes fully into the realm of an “album ready” band and not one rushing to an oversimplified or trend-chasing result. In simpler terms, they’ve refined up to the point of this debut without implying ambitions beyond this exact sound.

Though they’d had me at “Poison Idea cover” already, I’d ultimately enjoyed ‘Deadly Intrusions‘ for its crossover of crossovers, merging a love for 80’s extreme metal nascence with the very related ancestral pulse of crust punk/speed metal comingle nearby and managing a result that doesn’t sound dryly ‘old school’, blandly retro-minded, nor like a bad-goofin’ Midnight clone. Though their songwriting doesn’t necessarily find a timeless ‘on a roll’ purpose for each song on the full listen their sound is effective enough to engage and impress, it held up for many listens before I’d moved on. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (76/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Deadly Intrusions
LABEL(S):Caligari Records,
Selfmadegod Records
RELEASE DATE:April 8th, 2022

Help Support Grizzly Butts’ goals with a donation:

Please consider donating directly to site costs and project funding using PayPal.