August 26, 2013

Skeletal Spectre - Voodoo Dawn

Review by Justin C.

Cover art by Adam Geyer

With all the talk of how extreme and brutal metal can be, it's easy to forget that it can actually be fun. Enter Skeletal Spectre, who play straight-up, horror-themed death metal that's heavy as can be but still a blast to listen to.

Voodoo Dawn is the band's third full-length, and the second of which to feature Vanessa Nocera on vocals. Nocera is without question one of my favorite vocalists in metal. Her growls range from low and gravelly all the way up through black metal shrieks, but with enough clarity that the listener can actually make out the words. If you're curious to hear how much she can do with her voice, check out "Bone Dust." Near the end of the track, Nocera makes sounds that would cause the heads of mere mortals to turn inside out. On the final track, "The Flip-Side of Satan," we even get a bit of clean-singing Nocera, doing an evil duet with her own trademark growls. Nocera makes a lot of music that's worth digging into, including doom/death with Wooden Stake and some thrashier offerings with Howling, who's coming out with a new album in October.

Skeletal Spectre is completed by Behold the Pentagram on guitar and bass and Haunting the Beyond on drums. I'm sure they have real, human names, but in the interest of fun, we'll stick with the psuedonyms. Their buzzing guitar riffs and thundering drums bring Entombed to mind, but all you really need to know is that they play a no-frills style of death metal that's well-crafted and downright catchy, but it's done without sacrificing any of the heaviness you need and crave. (And, as a matter of fact, there is a song about ritual sacrifices on this album.) Sometimes you just need to step back from the dense and avant garde, and when I listen to this album, I drive too fast and drum on the steering wheel. What more can you ask for?

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

  1. "What more can you ask for?"

    More riffs! And better production.

    As far as the fun factor: to me, Dead Awaken is way more fun. They're a bit more precise, rhythmically.

    1. Grimy production is something I can usually take or leave, but in this case, I think it works well with the creepy horror theme of the music.