SKELETAL REMAINS – The Entombment Of Chaos

SKELETAL REMAINS – The Entombment Of Chaos

California’s Skeletal Remains are purveyors of classic old-school death metal in the vein of Pestilence, Death, and Morbid Angel, with a streak of their own personality shining through. Their previous three albums have been incredibly solid and entertaining, putting them in the same hallowed category as Gatecreeper, Blood Incantation, and Gruesome, all of whom are widely hailed as the future of the genre with a firm footing in the past.

Their previous record, 2018’s ‘Devouring Mortality’, was one of the highlights of that year and the expectations for a new album have been high ever since. The good news is that ‘The Entombment Of Chaos’ retains all of the great aspects of that album and merely adds to it, resulting in one of the finest death metal releases of 2020.

Firstly, the production is bright and imminently punchy, courtesy of the legend himself, Dan Swanö. This factor immediately takes the music to a higher level in comparison to its predecessor and the clarity of the respective instruments is unbelievable. And whilst we’re on the ‘classic street cred’ subject, the artwork by phenom Dan Seagrave is a complete throwback to the hallowed years of the genre and deserves to be pored over in numerous sittings.

The Pestilence influence on the music is still very prominent (always a good thing) but there is a pronounced injection of Morbid Angel in there, especially with the twisted leads and chaotic riffage. Once again, Skeletal Remains are not a nostalgia act by any means – these references are merely a springboard for their own attack on the genre, one that is very much unique to them

After the atmospheric ‘Cosmic Chasm’ intro, they don’t spare a second – we’re hit square in the face with the one-two attack of ‘Illusive Divinity’ and ‘Congregation Of Flesh’, easily two of the strongest songs on the album. Both have catchy, brutal riffs, mean rhythm sections, and Chris Monroy’s vocals bite hard with badass growls and screams.

The rest of the album follows suit, with exceptional tracks such as ‘Tombs Of Chaos’ and ‘Torturous Ways To Obliteration’ unfurling waves of distorted violence, vibrant guitars, meaty blast beats, and that ever-so-warm OSDM vibe upon the ears. There isn’t a second if filler to be found, and even the short instrumental, ‘Enshrined In Agony’, comes across as a classy palette cleanser imbued with 80’s horror ambience. And just to up the classic ante, the album closes with a cover of Disincarnate’s ‘Stench Of Burning Paradise’ with guest vocals from Carnation’s Simon Duson, a man with an epic throat. The song is reverently faithful to the original and, as with all good covers, they make it their own, so much so that if you didn’t know the song, you’d immediately think it was a Skeletal Remains original. Just perfect.

Even with all the other incredible death metal releases of 2020, you’ll be hard-pressed to find quality on the level of ‘The Entombment Of Chaos’, not to mention the sheer entertainment value. Skeletal Remains have taken their game to the next level with this one and I think we might have a modern classic over here. And in a year fraught with so many negatives, that’s a total win in my book.