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Dermal Harvest Cover

[28th January 2013]
[19th February 2013]
(North America)
[Pulverised Records]

01. He Was Murdered
02. Dismantling
03. Your Life Is Mine
04. Made of Godsick
05. Through the Empire
06. Stab
07. Drifting
08. Thousand Dead Faces
09. Bring Them
10. Solitude Discord

Skineater is a semi-recent supergroup out of Sweden. Though they formed in 2008, this is their debut album. The members have resumes consisting of bands like: Carnal Forge, Dark Funeral, In Thy Dreams, and Wombbath. Vocalist Jörgen Ström, guitarists Kari Kainulainen and Håkan Stuvemark, bassist Stefan Westerberg, and drummer Matte Modin combine to form a darker, grittier brand of Swedish death metal. Think Slaughter of the Soul, only twice as heavy, and quite a bit more current sounding.

The showpiece of Dermal Harvest, as is often the case in the genre, is the twin guitar attack. The way the guitars harmonize and interplay is so traditionally Swedish, you can practically smell the lutfisk (or kanelbulle, for you vegetarians). The band member who veers furthest from convention is Modin. The drums routinely break out in blasts and other rapid flurries, techniques practically absent from traditional Swedish melodeath. The drums may very well hold the key to what sets the band apart the most.

There’s a lot to like about this album, and really only one flaw worth mentioning, but some may find it too large a problem to overlook: vocalist Jörgen Ström. He is by no measure a poor vocalist. His gravelly bark is as good as any similarly-voiced metal frontman, but when placed alongside the rest of the music, it leaves something to be desired. For all the careful re-imagining and twists on previously-trodden styles, the vocals are just kind of predictable.

This album is an absolute time machine. As a person whose introduction to metal came by way of the Gothenburg style bands who dominated the late 90’s/early 00’s, this album immediately recalls many of those elements. The influence of the members’ prior band involvements is seemingly inescapable, and as the album winds through varying tempos and levels of aggression from track to track, you can hear the echoes of those past experiences.

This band is no mere composite of the bands from which it sprung, though. As much as the influence can be felt, they’ve injected something new. This music is decidedly higher on the “heaviness scale” than many of it’s SDM predecessors. One could say they’ve mixed in a bit more death than melody in their recipe for melodeath; or that they find themselves somewhere between Gothenburg and Stockholm. Silly analogies aside, this is really good stuff. It might not be the freshest style on the planet, but shows that when done correctly, you really can resurrect a dead scene.


Deffrey Goines writer banner