Ever come across something, may it be a meal, a movie, a book or an album, where you would enjoy the entire think immensely, except for one small detail. Normally, when something is really good, one would ignore the small fallacy and look at the overall product. Unfortunately, sometimes that one small fallacy cannot be ignored, no matter how hard you try, mainly because that one fault can ruin the appreciation you have for the rest of the album.
Case in point: SKELETONWITCH. Musically, this is a very diverse affair, with the riffs going from Thrash to Power to Heavy, with tasteful harmonies everywhere, plus there is the occasional acoustic guitar (end of “The Skullsplitter”). The music is top-notch, having this very old school Thrash vibe to it, something like DARK ANGEL/early SLAYER. Normally, I would highly recommend this to fans of Thrash Metal, and tell most fans of Metal to give these guys a shot anyway, because musically, they have written something that is diverse, and dynamic.
However, there is one small factor that will decrease the quality of this album from “excellent” to “above average”: the vocals. They are of the Death/Black type, but that is not why they drag the whole album down. The problem is two-fold. One fault of the vocals is that they are far too low in the mix. This resulted in moments when I was wondering whether or not the vocalist was there for half the songs on the album. He’s unnoticeable, and that’s not good at all. The second is that the music warrants some form of power and delivery to the vocals, not just someone shrieking monotonously to the music. I’m not expecting vocals of Bruce Dickinson’s or Warrel Dane’s calibre, but a little character to the vocals would be nice. What we have is top notch music with vocals that are so generic they drag the whole thing down. That’s a huge problem that has hindered my enjoyment of this album.
Mildly recommended. (Online January 9, 2005)