Available: May 21, 2014
Drone Metal, I’ve found, can be pretty hit or miss. Ok, mostly miss, consisting of tracks that leave my mind numb, but at least cure my insomnia. Two things, however, made me want to give Skinwalker a shot. First, they’re in Chattanooga, TN, a city I’ve spent considerable time in (mostly involving gorging myself at Sticky Fingers). Second, band member Austen Mason described the album as “Drone/doom… devoted to multidimensional creatures with EVP’s hidden in songs.” Sounds very much like other the soundtrack to a Lovecraft story, maybe The Whisperer in the Darkness.
With the opening of the first track, “Book of Law,” I realized that I was not going to be subjected to the type of Drone Metal that makes you want to fall asleep. The drone itself has enough variance to be interesting, but then is highlighted with other ambient noises, as well as a ritual reading. The other tracks follow suit, offering enough to keep the listener interested.
Unless I find an album just utterly horrid I’ll listen through it multiple times as I formulate a review and on the second listen I thought I detected a thematic story that wove the tracks together. As I listened more I tried to piece the story together. The first track was obvious, being about the performance of a ritual of magik. The second track, “Nightshade,” I thought was perhaps the response of other dimensional beings to the ritual. The album continues with the response of man to the presence of these beings, finishing with “Terminal,” a track I thought was either an escape from the beings or the start of an expedition to reach them.
Well, I was partly right. I reached out to Austen to see if there really was a story underlying the entirety of the album, and yes, there was. While tracks one and two are indeed a ritual of magik and the response of a spirit, track three is about developing powers from interactions with the paranormal and recognizing and rejecting the path of destruction mankind is on. “Terminal” is that destruction.
If you’re a fan of ambient sound and drone metal I think you owe it to yourself to check out Abyss by Skinwalker.
Austen Mason – vocals, noise
Jared Madewell – guitar
Dylan Bales – drums
Jamie Dawson – noise, samples, synth