SKULLPTURE – A Horrifying Death (2023)REVIEW

Though they hadn’t been entirely consistent to start, after fourteen years cracking away at it Santiago, Chile-based death metal quartet Skullpture have their take on traditional, groove-centric yet brutal death metal pinned down to a science on this latest mLP. Strictly a feat of classicist forms taken to a strong technical standard ‘A Horrifying Death‘ aims for a pure death metal showing without any particular reverence for thrills beyond the riff and rhythm of craft.

Skullpture formed back in 2009 and they’d clearly been inspired off the bat, stumbling into a classic death metal influenced sound for their first demo (‘Demo‘, 2010) and following up with a still formative sounding set of rhythms on their debut full-length (‘Skullpture… The Sinister Art‘, 2011) which they’d end up re-recording and re-releasing in 2016 as far as I can tell. They’d sounded like they were finally ready and geared up with a different line-up beyond that point, ultimately producing their sort of ‘true’ debut LP ‘Reborn in Decay‘ in 2019. The way I’d described the band around that time was groove oriented, somewhat brutally afflicted death metal and the kind of band you’d expect to find on a label like Australis Records in the mid-2010’s. Pulling back through their discography to date it’d make sense to consider that second full-length the point where the band finally hit their stride as a death metal machine and ‘A Horrifying Death‘ finds ’em pushing the militance of their grooves further into refinement.

At the introductory peak of the experience, as the riffcraft of the band presents its most varied force, the ride between “Devoured” and “The Eyes of Horror” speaks to the mid-90’s brutality of Morbid Angel and Deicide as it’d applied to brutal death metal in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, particularly the Polish and Brazilian machinations of brutal rhythm and groove and the general era of groups like Aeon, Blood Red Throne and certainly Vader before them. Keeping it simple yet effective, throwing in some deathgrind influenced riffs and generally staying on the attack throughout each ~4 minute song on this mLP helps sustain the general momentum of the full listen yet the straight forward nature of Skullpture‘s work won’t likely be much of anything new or twisted for the longtime death metal fan beyond recognizable trait.

A Horrifying Death‘ ends up being a somewhat substantial mLP at nearly a half hour and delivers on a classic, easily picked up on set of brutal grooves which do a fine job representing how far Skullpture have come over the course of fourteen years. Folks looking for a steady riff hand applied to tightly packed but none-too technical pure death metal sounds will instantly appreciate the straight forward ballast of the group. While I wouldn’t say I am blown away by the work here they’ve done a fine job of building fealty with the traditional death metal fan in me, showcasing the proper 2000’s evolution of that sound without any trendy revisionism applied. A moderately high recommendation for the die-hard, longtime death metal fan.

Moderately high recommendation. (77/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
ARTIST:SKULLPTURE
TITLE:A Horrifying Death [mLP]
LABEL(S):Adirondack Black Mass
RELEASE DATE:January 15th, 2023

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