Born in 1995, Skinned have been spreading their plague of brutal death metal for over 20 years, growing in stature and steadily becoming a band of considerable power and skill. Well, they’ve hit the muthafuckin’ payload with their 5th full length album, Shadow Syndicate, and Skinned have not only fully come of age; they’ve completely surpassed themselves!
Awash with the most impressive, neck-wrecking grooves around, Shadow Syndicate may be brutal but it’s accessibly brutal, incorporating technicality, an appropriate level of savagery and a knack for making their syncopated riffs as moshable as possible.
The whole thing ebbs, flows and grooves with sublime efficiency as Skinned go about their business with a military-like precision. Pneumatic drill drumming and a varied vocal approach provide thrills but it’s the endless head-banging moments of pure fury (occasionally tempered by some wicked atmospherics as found on instrumental “Black Rain”) which propel this album into the big leagues.
Roping in Defeated Sanity‘s Josh Welshman on “As Their Bodies Fall” adds gravitas, but Skinned are doing perfectly fine by themselves. In fact, they’ve given brutal death metal a serious kick in the pants with an album that took us completely by surprise. Stellar stuff! 8/10
Skinned’s Shadow Syndicate is out on May 4th, 2018 on CD & Digital via XENOKORP