Shed the Skin - Rebirth Through Brimstone - (8/10)
Published on March 20, 2016
Shed the Skin is a Cleveland based supergroup of sorts. While the band wasn’t officially formed until 2011, guitarist Matt Sorg (Ringworm) and drummer Kyle Severn (Incantation and Acheron) came up with the idea after playing together at a memorial show for Blood of Christ’s Tom Rojack. The two then recruited Duane Morris (Kurnigia and Decrepit) on vocals and Ed Stephens (Ringworm and Beyond Fear) on bass to complete the lineup. Prior to recording, Duane had to bail and Shed the Skin brought Ash Thomas (Crucified Mortals and Estuary) on for vocals. They also brought Brian Boston (From the Depths) on board for keyboards. That’s a lot of big names from the Ohio death metal scene, so you can imagine hopes were high for Shed the Skin’s debut EP, which dropped through Hells Headbangers Records in late 2014.
Rebirth Through Brimstone is the band’s debut EP, featuring two tracks of tough as nails death metal. There’s no frills involved, with crushing riffs, fast paced and controlled percussion and deep, throaty screams. While the riffs are heavy handed and bludgeoning, borrowing from the dirge-laden chaos of Incantation and Asphyx, you can also sense the lowbrow thrashing of Ringworm with more than a dose of Slayer-ized harmonies. While all the skull splitting riffage and pummeling percussion is surging forward, Brian Boston adds an eerie backdrop of haunting noises and darkened atmospheres, giving the music an aphotic edge.
While so-called supergroups rarely live up to their potential, Shed the Skin really seems to have something going for themselves. This is pummeling, no holds barred death metal that takes a little from each of the member’s projects and make its own sound. The band was supposedly working on a full length around the release of the EP, but there hasn’t been a lot of recent news from their camp. Hopefully it will see the light of day soon, because, if this short EP is any indication, it will be killer.