SKELETAL REMAINS - Condemned to Misery (FDA Rekordz LP 2015)
Among the dozens of new bands that perform death metal the old school way, Skeletal Remains is definitely one of my favourites. I love them! Formed in 2011 in California, they debuted with "Desolate Isolation" demo and then released fantastic "Beyond the Flesh" album in 2013. These are two excellent releases, but the best so far from Skeletal Remains came out in 2015, with "Condemned to Misery" album. I can honestly and seriously say that for me personally this is one of the best death metal albums in decade or even longer. I know that "competition" is huge and there are many, many killer bands around, which released hundreds of worthy and great albums. But I feel like hardly any is just as good as "Condemned to Misery". You don't have to agree with me, I don't care. I love this record and that's what matters to me.
What is this Skeletal Remains about? Well, stylistically they don't do anything new for the whole death metal genre. Their music is sort of cross between early Death ("Spiritual Healing" especially), Obituary's "Cause of Death", "Dreams of the Carrion Kind", Pestilence's "Consuming Impulse", Solstice's "Solstice" and few more similar records. What do most of them have in common? James Murphy! When I listen to Skeletal Remains it feels like this one of the best death metal guitarist has just found his best pupils. And maybe even those pupils are now just as good as their teacher. I am truly impressed with the whole guitar work on "Condemned to Misery", every riff here is a crusher, I love that style of technical, but memorable and slightly melodic death metal, with so many impressive leads spread all over the album. Skeletal Remains in my opinion composed songs, which really could rival all the classic tracks from "Spiritual Healing", "Cause of Death", "Dreams of the Carrion Kind" or "Death Shall Rise". And the best thing about it is that, while being hugely influenced by those albums, it is obvious that with "Condemned to Misery" Skeletal Remains has found their own style also, coming up with a bit more original stuff. Anyway, these guys are fuckin great at what they do and the music they composed here is close to perfection.
Yes, it's perfect classic death metal here! The production is simply spotless, very suitable to this kind of death metal. It's important that while relatively clean sounding, the album has kept that raw edge what gives the music more kick. And it all sounds bloody powerful. Play it loud and I am sure that your speakers will blow away and the walls will crack. The instrumental performance of every member of Skeletal Remains is excellent and you cannot desire more from them. The drummer is great, but the guitarists did simply brilliant job (what I already mentioned above). The is so good that I cannot find even one short fragment, that would sound bad. The instrumental parts are some of the best I've heard in death metal ever, even such "...Still Suffering", which has no vocals at all, sound unbelievably strong. I won't even bother to pick up "the best songs", as I usually do, because I don't think it's possible. The whole album gave me the "jaw on the floor" feeling, I am insanely obsessed with it... And so, I strongly recommend "Condemned to Misery". Get it or die!
Final rate: 90/100