December 14, 2012 | , | 4

Skeletal Remains, Beyond the Flesh

Skeletal Remains: Beyond the Flesh

I find it hard to believe that the dudes that comprise California’s Skeletal Remains are from anywhere other than the mired swamps of Florida. The band’s debut slab of death metal, Beyond the Flesh is a thick, bastardized blend of Death, Malevolent Creation and Obituary if ever there was one. The nine songs on this album ooze the vileness those bands helped create so many years ago. This is definitely a good thing.

The first thing you notice is vocalist/guitarist Chris Monroy (guitarist for Fueled by Fire) and his uncanny ability to successfully mimic both Chuck Shuldiner and John Tardy in the same breath, or wretched scream as it were. The combination makes for a viciously raw and destructive delivery that only proves to match the churning brutality that the rest of the band (Adrius Marquez on bass, Christian Reyes on drums and Adrian Obrego on second guitar) are slinging about with reckless abandon. The overall tone of this album is raw, unprocessed and sludgy which makes for a relatively authentic sound that I am all for.

“Extirpated Vitality” gets things off with a classic sounding riff straight out of the Death catalog before the guys throttle up the pace with pile-driving drums and Monroy’s raspy, growling vocals. Leads abound throughout the album opener that shred flesh like nobody’s business. “Reconstructive Surgery” has some seriously swampy groove, oozing from behind Monroy’s screams and chugging riffage — this song fucking kills. “Carrion Death” keeps the crimson flowing with more head-snapping groove and bludgeoning rhythms.

The first half of this album slays and, thankfully, this isn’t a case of a second half let-down. Skeletal Remains continue to plunder the graves with more old school destruction with songs like the absolutely pummeling “Anthropophagy” and crushing riffs (and heavy bass work) of “Sub-Zero Termination.” Hell, the guys even throw in a pretty damn good cover of Gorguts’ “Disincarnated” for good measure on the LP version of this album.

Beyond the Flesh is one hell of an impressive debut. It’s not often that a band can successfully capture a myriad of influences into a seamless and effective series of tunes like those on this album, but this California quartet seem to have managed just that. Never mimicking or aping their heros 100% outright, the band has gone to great lengths to deliver their own take on some seriously catchy Old School Death Metal.