Fragments Of The Ageless

Century Media
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Relentless Appetite
02. Cybernetic Harvest
03. To Conquer the Devout
04. Forever in Sufferance
05. Verminous Embodiment
06. Ceremony of Impiety
07. Void of Despair
08. Unmerciful
09. …Evocation (The Rebirth)

Since 2011, SKELETAL REMAINS has been kicking out its evil jams, and through grit and determination, they have slowly but surely forced their way to the forefront. With "Fragments of the Ageless", their fifth full-length, the merits of this ravenous quartet's work can not be ignored.

While SKELETAL REMAINS clearly isn't here to reinvent the wheel, their fracas doesn't have anything to do with the sterile old-school death metal trend. "Fragments of the Ageless" is a riveting slab of timeless American death metal that has much in common with the darkness, intricacy and intensity of MORBID ANGEL and HATE ETERNAL. The menacing rumble of "To Conquer the Devout" sounds like it could be on a Steve Tucker-era MORBID ANGEL album. The inspiration is evident, but it's fortunately a case of emulation rather than blatant imitation.

"Fragments of the Ageless" is a logical follow-up to their previous effort, "The Entombment of Chaos", but it's more fine-tuned and interesting. "Forever in Sufferance" is a maelstrom of death metal brutality from the start, before an even more bludgeoning dose kicks in with an up-tempo thrash beat. And that precedes a tasteful, tech death reprieve that would make Chuck Schuldiner proud.

Running in excess of seven minutes, "Unmerciful" is a marathon that never runs out of steam. The aggressive tendencies are balanced with passionate introspection and head-nodding groove. "Void of Despair", on the other hand, is the soundtrack to an unhinged street fight. Even here, the unit spices things up with a calm, sedative respite that includes a brief melodic vocal section.

With "Fragments Of The Ageless", SKELETAL REMAINS have proven themselves as one of death metal's elite bands. Are they likely to be as revered as MORBID ANGEL or CANNIBAL CORPSE? Probably not. But, in fairness, that's a ridiculously high standard. Time will tell what's ahead, but "Fragments Of The Ageless" is a gargantuan effort that is bound to spur gatekeeping purists to uncross their arms and start banging their heads like it's 1993.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
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