Emerging from Cheshire are Skeletal Damage, who play a non-exploratory brand of thrash metal. ‘Fire And Forget’ is their first full-length effort, and after being signed to Rising Records, they’ve gotta be doing something right; after a fair amount of plays though it’s kind of hard to see what. Maybe it’s just the fact that the thing in metal recently is to do something wacky and away from the trodden path, but Skeletal Damage really lack that certain oomph to excite the listener. Maybe I’m being too harsh on such a young band (having only formed in 2009), after all, they did play Download Festival and have garnered a fair few fans, but from a neutral stand point it’s another one for the shrug pile.
The highlights come in the form of opener ‘Rise Of The Morning Star’ and the mildly interesting ‘Kissing Knives’. The latter features a nice little progressive riff mid-song, but then disappointingly launches straight back into a generic chorus. There is potential here. There are also a couple of longer numbers; 9 minute long ‘The Dogs Of War’ is generally more of the same that you’ve already heard in the shorter songs, and sadly 7 minute long ‘Of False Hope’ falls foul of the same problem.
It’s after hearing the album and being uninspired that I personally think “but will it be better in a live setting?”, and the answer is probably yes. The vocals are pretty quiet in the mix on record, and if they are able to be pulled off live then they will surely whip up a pit or few in faster tracks such as ‘Blue On Blue’ and ‘Night Turns To Day’. There is, however, the worrying thought that they could be shit live, as showcased in the horrifying ‘The Deadlights’. It’s clear to see what the band are going for; a slower, acoustically driven slower song, but the vocals are nowhere near the correct note when the drums kick in, causing that awful recoil-from-the-speakers motion to happen. The heavier section in this song though, strangely, is actually one of the best parts of the album, it’s just placed precariously between two parts that you won’t ever want to revisit.
I don’t like being critical though without looking for some positives, and make no mistake that there are some here. Skeletal Damage are repping the UK thrash scene, but they could just do with a little edge if they plan on bothering the Evile‘s of this world.
Written by Martin Savage