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Skeletonwitch: Serpents Unleashed

Athens thrashers soak up new shades of black

Skeltonwitch remind us that a good album isn’t just about the music as they’ve cunningly roped in the achingly pretty artistry of John Baizley and producer Kurt Ballou. Fortunately for the ’Witch their entourage is merely an advantage to an already brimming album, replete with their blackened sound that has seen them transcend the expectations of a typical thrashing outfit.

Apart from This Evil Empire, which ripples with BM-inspired ominous tones, much of Serpents… has more to do with Amon Amarth and Arch Enemy and Pestilence, as well as geting pseudo-folky in places, like a less bombastic Kalmah. There’s nothing quite like the rollicking opener of their last album but Even Linger’s rumbling bass gives Serpents… an injection of lead weight while Dustin Boltjes puts in the gallop.

From the old-school shred of Burned From Bone to the cyclone whiplash of From A Cloudless Sky this is another brave crack at the blackened spirit without doing things in the obvious manner.