Rating: 9 out of 10
OK, let’s get this out there right away – the new record Devouring Radiant Light by Skeletonwitch is my pick for Best Album of 2018. There, I said it. Devouring Radiant Light is Skeletonwitch’s fifth studio album and they go ALL OUT on this one! These headbangers from Ohio have shown an ability to mesh different metal genres: extreme metal, black metal, thrash metal, death metal are all fused together into an intricate wall of sound.
In 2015, Skeltonwitch parted ways with their original vocalist, Chance Garnette. Many thought that this was the end of the band. How many bands can recover when a popular, integral part of the band leaves? However, Garnette’s departure opened the door for the ultra-talented Adam Clemans (Wolvhammer and Veil of Maya), allowing the band to create Devouring Radiant Light, an album that is their best yet.
My favorites genres are thrash and death metal, specifically melo-death metal. On Devouring Radiant Light, Skeletonwitch fuses these genres in a way that will please fans of both. The record opens with Fen of Shadows, starting with long harmonies and ending with a barrage of riffs and bass beats that shake the walls. From there, the record gets even better and shows that the band is maturing nicely.
Even though the twin-guitarist attack of Scott Hedrick and Nathan Garnette pushes the limits of black metal riffs, there’s plenty for melo-death metal fans (like me) to enjoy. The record starts with the atmospheric Fen of Shadows, starting slowly and building to frenzied beat. From there, the record continued to blend black and death metal vocals and amazing guitar riffs. Songs like Temple of the Sun, The Luminous Sky, and Carnarium Eternal show that this is the most mature and polished album to date from Skeletonwitch. All of this culminates in my favorite song on the record – The Vault, a 9-minute opus swelling and building to an epic finish.
Clemans demonstrates that his vocals blend well with Hedrick’s and Garnette’s scorching riffs. It’s obvious that the band leans on Clemans past musical experience to create an atmospheric record that gets better with each spin. There’s not a bad song on this album. In fact, this is one of those records that gets better with each successive listen. Give it a chance – you won’t be disappointed. I’ve been listening to the album while writing this and I still feel that it’s the best album of 2018 so far.
I am Mark Morris and I don’t dance – I headbang! I am a longtime metalhead, going back to the early 80’s. I love all types of metal – classic, power, thrash, and death metal are my favorites. I love conversation with interesting people and I can be found on Twitter at @marknotjohn. Rock on!