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  SOULSKINNER
'Crypts Of Ancient Wisdom'
(Xtreem Music)


jools green

Jools Green



soulskinner

When you think of Greek Metal, bands like Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh usually spring to mind, but a band that has managed to somehow fly under the radar for over a decade are Soulskinner, a four piece old school death Metal quartet from Athens.

As a band they have been fairly busy; 'Crypts Of Ancient Wisdom' is the third full length from the quartet, following 'Breeding The Grotesque' in 2003 and 2007s 'Non Stop Killing' as well as a couple of split releases after that.

Soundwise 'Crypts Of Ancient Wisdom' is early 90s to the core with definite influences from Bolt Thrower, Carcass and Asphyx along with a slight punk edge. The drum work from Kostas is great; it features quite prominently without being invasive and adds a lot to the release particularly on 'The Price Of War', where they are at their best.

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Gothmog's vocals also caught my ear also; they manifest as an absolutely fascinating deep rasping gargle with a nicely laboured edge that at times, the vibrations of which, resonate with almost ground shaking proportions and a lot of great guitar work pops up throughout from Bill and Spiros. There is also quite a raw edge to the sound, this is not an overly produced release and I suspect it would translate very well to a live performance.

The twelve track forty-six minute release begins on 'Intro', a great little acoustic instrumental followed by 'The Captive Trojan Maiden' where the Carcass influence is quite noticeable and 'Life A Bane' has hints of Bolt Thrower to a lesser extent. Opening and closing on a conflict gunfire sound-bite, 'The Price Of War' has a punk edge to its construct. 'Our Greatest Curse' has effective straightforward sinister riffing set against gut wrenching vocals of ground shaking proportions.

'The Furies' Hymn' is a great track that switches from chugging riff to catchy melody keeping you engaged throughout with piercingly discordant closing guitar work to complete it. 'Deadland pt.1' has a superb opener which is a combination of the catchy repeat riffs and throat tearing growls panning out into an excellent track, followed by the equally good, slower paced 'Deadland pt.2' where the thick sound to the guitars and straightforward riffs are highly effective.

'Thou Shalt Die' has some really excellent guitar work throughout; a great track. 'Death At Last' is slow and eerie with a latter part, eerily off kilter guitar segment that works well and even more unnerving is the final track 'Why Shrink From Death' with its clever haunting piano opener that continues to weave it's sound chillingly into the main body of the track before the arrival of the chugging yet racy riffs completed with a great latter part solo ending on the strangely atmospheric acoustic 'Outro'.

'Crypts Of Ancient Wisdom' makes a pretty decent listen overall and the more you listen the more it grows on you but it's easy to see how Soulskinner have slipped through the cracks; death Metal is flooded with similar bands and standing out isn't easy. Hopefully this release will bring them a little more recognition.




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