SKELETONWITCH – The Apothic Gloom EP
In the middle of a significant North American tour run with Amon Amarth and Sabaton back in 2015, vocalist Chance Garnette would leave Skeletonwitch. "The Apothic Gloom" is the band’s first recording with new recruit Adam Clemans, who has vast experience with Veil of Maya, Iron Thrones, and Wolvhammer among others. A four song outing, epic songs like "Red Death, White Light" and the title track bookend the shorter but still explosive "Well of Despair" and relatively catchy but more melodic "Black Waters". Musically straddling the melodic death/thrash lines with the ferocious, blackened scream nature of Adam’s vocals, Skeletonwitch keep the locomotive train a rollin’, giving the senses a full-on assault that proves the band still is at the top of their execution game.
Guitarists Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick know how to build anticipation and thematic elements in their licks and hooks to maintain interest – the trilling behind the repetitive refrain during "Red Death, White Light" is one to hit legendary status, so haunting and exquisite to send goosebumps all over the body. In contrast, the somber acoustic opening to "The Apothic Gloom" gives way to some brilliant layering of harmonization, sure to promote a lot of chanting in unison when aired live. Skeletonwitch have little to worry about – it feels like they’ve lost no traction in terms of membership, and this is an adequate taste of what to expect as the band tour and hopefully deliver their next full-length soon. Those who love the pummeling drums, frantic riff exchanges, and caustic yet discernible vocals will slam incessantly to these songs.