Even though Metallica dragged thrashy speed metal into the mainstream with its "Black" album, most of the better, more imaginative practitioners of the style remained relatively obscure. While acts such as Testament, Voivod and Metal Church never became household names, their mixture of aggression, precision and obsession with the dark side of human nature cast an unmistakable pall on black metal and the bastard child of punk rock and thrash known as "crust." There is a bit of all that to be found in Skeleton Witch's music. The Athens, Ohio, act plays it straight up: no ballads, no inept, blues-based rock -- just frenzied intensity coupled with odd, unexpected melodies swimming amid sharp changes in time signatures. If you're into scarcely discernible vocals growled/shouted over the top of guitar lines that sound like swarms of insects, with manic, tightly controlled rhythms to match, then Skeleton Witch should be just your speed.
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