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01. This Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill)
02. Reduced to the Failure of Prayer
03. Of Ash and Torment
04. Choke Upon Betrayal
05. Erased and Forgotten
06. The Infernal Resurrection
07. Rejoice in Misery
08. Cleaver of Souls
09. Shredding Sacred Flesh
10. Sink Beneath Insanity
11. My Skin of Deceit
Reviewed by: Joshua
// Published: 10/11/2011
Skeletonwitch is a heavy metal band—period. Previous efforts, Beyond the Permafrost and Breathing the Fire, established the Athens, Ohio quintet as flag bearers of the genre's heyday, where cauldrons smoked with the horrors of war, mysticism, religion, and darkness. Those albums, along with an extensive touring regimen, laid the groundwork for Forever Abomination, an album that improves upon every aspect of Skeletonwitch's already potent fusion of metal's most prominent influences.
Beginning with the acoustic open of "This Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill)" and its subsequent blackened thrash antecedent, Forever Abomination impresses at each turn. "Reduced to the Failure of Prayer" blasts out of the gate, gets all Judas Priest for a minute, Gothenburg the next second, slips in an arpeggio, then gets back to the whiplashing. The 80's style intro on "Of Ash and Torment" is only bested by the tremolo picking and clever corkscrew mosh riff on "Choke Upon Betrayal" and the pickup stomp of "Cleaver of Souls."
The musicianship, from guitars to percussion, is all A-plus. As is the production, featuring a more rounded sound than the abrasive master of Breathing the Fire. It may not be as ferocious as its predecessor, but it adds to that Dungeons 'n' Dragons element the band excels at. Melodious leads and technical prowess accent every angle. While the fast sections of "My Skin of Deceit" and the black metal tinges found throughout "Rejoice in Misery" are sure to get the fists banging, some of the longer melodic passages, such as the guitar solo ending "Cleaver" are the most pleasant surprises.
The raspy vocals might take some getting used to for the uninitiated, and the lack of lower growls may dismay some older fans, but the few times they do appear they are all the more satisfying. Another positive is that almost every song is under three minutes, leaving little room for boredom. Many riffs are memorable and the album begs to be spun multiple times. The only thing Forever Abomination lacks is a big breakdown, and it's a welcome exclusion.
Bottom Line: Whether you liked Skeletonwitch before or not, Forever Abomination is a must listen.