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Skeletal Remains “Fragments of the Ageless” Album Review By Josh Phillips

SKELETAL REMAINS Members band

Skeletal Remains have been one of the leading lights of the Old School Death Metal revival for over a decade now and have gained recognition as one of the top Death Metal bands in existence today. Rather than resting on their laurels, the band’s fifth album, Fragments of the Ageless, finds the veterans raising the bar of speed, technicality, and brutality. The debut album, Beyond the Flesh, drew heavily on the masters Pestilence and Death but with a special intensity and the trademark melodic lead work of Chris Monroy. That album was an instant classic of the OSDM revival and is a personal favorite of mine. While Beyond the Flesh established the basic formula for Skeletal Remains, the band has continued to evolve and put a more unique stamp on their sound which finds its culmination here.

With each album Skeletal Remains increased the technicality and brutality of their sound while maintaining the catchiness of their riffs and grooving, headbanging moments. 2020’s The Entombment of Chaos, however, pushed the technicality a bit too far for my tastes and the individual songs became slightly less memorable to me. Fortunately, Fragments of the Ageless has restored the balance. This album respects the trajectory of Skeletal Remains’ development (even further diversifying and evolving in some ways) while also simultaneously returning to roots in writing a number of what should become fan-favorite memorable riffs. Skeletal Remains is a great live band and the new songs absolutely slay in the live setting. The huge breakdown in the middle of Cybernetic Harvest is not only memorable, but liable to get somebody killed in the pit. Lead-single Void of Despair also falls into this category and is one of the record’s best tracks.

Truly, the above could be said for most of the album’s songs. Indeed, the songwriting on Fragments of the Ageless is one of its greatest strengths. Chris Monroy and Mike De La O have developed into masters of the craft, deftly weaving together one ripping and slashing riff after another into a cohesive whole. The songwriting is highlighted by the album’s thick, full production rendered at the hands of the legendary Dan Swanö. The guitar tone achieved is the band’s most bone-crunching yet, the low-end is brought with full-force by the bass work of Brian Rush, and Pierce Williams turns in a pummeling performance behind the kit. Fragments of the Ageless is probably the best sounding record Skeletal Remains has released and this only further intensifies the overall brutality of the record. Aside from the short atmospheric track Ceremony of Impiety, this is indeed a high-octane affair. The album is brutal and fast, but like any Skeletal Remains record, never without melody which is rendered in small outbursts by the dueling lead guitars of Monroy and De La O – some of the best in the business.

With Fragments of the Ageless, Skeletal Remains have struck the perfect balance within their own sound – brutal, fast, and technical while still remaining memorable and primed to destroy in a live setting. With their fifth album, the band has undoubtedly come into their own and confirmed their position as one of today’s premier Death Metal bands.

Joshs’ Rating: 9/10

SKELETAL REMAINS Album covers

‘Fragments of the Ageless’ Tracklist:

  1. Relentless Appetite
  2. Cybernetic Harvest
  3. To Conquer the Devout
  4. Forever in Sufferance
  5. Verminous Embodiment
  6. Ceremony of Impiety
  7. Void of Despair
  8. Unmerciful
  9. …Evocation (The Rebirth)

Line-up:

Chris Monroy – guitars/vocals
Mike De La O – guitars
Pierce Williams – drums
Brian Rush – bass

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