SKINNER, The Enemy Within  (2012, self-released)

The skull:
Is this skull the skinner or the skinnee? If skinner, it’s likely a revenge thing, doing to others what was done to him. If the skinnee, then it must have been difficult for the skinner to work around what look like fancy deer horns growing out of the sides of his head. His turquoiseness, well, that’s just silly. And do I have to point out what a lame, overused title The Enemy Within is? Perhaps they chose that over Nowhere to Run or something even more cliche…

The music:
This is metal that brings in a variety of genres and melds them fairly seamlessly. It’s performed with finesse and delivered with a conviction that you have to respect. You’ll hear shades of Nevermore’s high-octane modern power metal here, elements of Pantera groove, that nebulous but awesome not-quite-thrash area inhabited by bands like Powermad and Metal Church, and references to various Annihilator eras. So, very capable stuff, with a vocalist that recalls the gruff melodicism of Pharaoh’s Tim Aymar. They’ve got it together on this EP, and even though I wasn’t left wanting to check it out again after my two initial listens, whenever the name Skinner comes up I’ll give them some respect, at the very least. Anyone who considers the whole Prog/Power thing (style and festival) their musical bread and butter, you need this. Skinner released a full-length album two months ago called Sleepwalkers, and I haven’t heard it, but it boasts a pretty terrible album cover. They’re following in the footsteps of Metal Church as far as that goes.