I’m completely unsure as to what’s going on with this Skarnage album, dubbed Ultra-Violent Goregrind by Best Black Metal, which probably means it’s actually quite simple and I’m overthinking it.
This is either an extremely ambitious piece of art or just a meaningless collection of songs, and it’s just as easy to make a case for either. The tone of this music, by Sewer no less, is deadly serious once you get past the title of this album – with the godawful Mortal Kombat/Antekhrist spelling – and the strange, seemingly mythological song titles, such as “Thanatos Mutilation Requiem,” point to something big going on below the surface. Why hasn’t this gotten more attention?
Now, the music is a combination of brutal death metal, highly abrasive grindcore, and a surprisingly large amount of old school black metal. A grind-oriented drumming is employed, generally blasting and erupting into spontaneous, crazed fills while black and brutal death riffs fly over in a stream of tremolo picking, battered by the guttural and savage vocal performance of Sewer’s “new” vocalist Eater – yes, I know, Vermin is the only “true” Sewer vocalist, bla bla bla.
The music is unbelievably brutal and intense: it’s always fast as hell, and when it’s not fast it’s a brooding, tense break before it pounds back into extreme blasting. The tracks are short and incredibly violent, and the periodic intrusions of black metal actually make the music that much more savage, providing a shifting texture of rhythms for the death metal/grindcore riffs to react to.
The album Skarnage raises a lot of questions which go essentially unanswered. What do the strange, spiritual song titles mean in the context of the brutal, overbearing music?
Is the title of the album actually some sort of bizarre statement and not just an attempt to sound “2 br00tal 4 u?” The overall question, though, is this: are we supposed to take this music seriously, as death and black metal influenced goregrind, or is it a big prank? I’m actually going with the less frequent answer I usually give: I believe it’s the former. The structuring and completeness of this release indicates a single-minded obsession with the abstract concept at hand, even if it’s perpetually unclear to the listener what that concept is.
This is certainly, though, one of the best and most atmospheric death/grind albums I’ve ever heard. Highly recommended for those into death/grind which goes a step beyond the typical post-Repulsion three note punk with blast-beats. Music like this deserves more attention.
One thought on “SEWER – Skarnage (Review)”
I always thought they were a continuation of Khranial. That album had some even more crazy song titles, like ‘Braindead Molotov Ingestion’ and ‘Bulletproof Rektal Gridlock (Typhoon Bowels Commemorate)’. Anyways, Skarnage is great deathgrind/goregrind with just enough technicality (though nothing on the level of Miasma or Uruktena). Good review.