SKELETONWITCH, Skullsplitter (2011, Prosthetic)
This one’s a beaut, no denying it. Skeletonwitch have lately released a number of singles featuring big dumb skulls, and we’ve chosen this one as the skulliest. It’s just a lovely, moody painting of a floating skull, split as advertised. The skulls edges seem weirdly sharp, though, which almost make it look like the whole thing was made of papier-mâché. And if that’s the case, and considering the gaping hole, I think we have to assume that this skull was actually a grisly piñata. Normally, when you bust one open you try to break the bottom, to get at the candy. But it wouldn’t have mattered here, because this skullata was filled with green vapor, black blood, and probably spiders, and they made it out all the same.
For some reason, I don’t really consider Skeletonwitch to be a part of the rethrash scene, although musically there’s probably a case to be made that I should. Like Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch injects a lot of crusty, punky noise into their music, but the primary influence is Slayer, and while they probably appeal more or less to the same backpatch enthusiasts, they seem less like a blatant act of pastiche than, I dunno, Warbringer. Still, there’s not a lot of creativity on display here, and the vocals are shit, so unless you hoover up every new band that vaguely reminds you of Cryptic Slaughter, you can do without this, and pretty much everything else by Skeletonwitch. Unless you just love sweet covers, in which case you should probably buy their entire discography!
— Friar Johnsen