Album Only the Ruthless Remain
Release Date: 2 June 2015
Label Relapse Records Genre Death Metal
There is such a thing as hell on Earth. It comes disguised as a death metal band and it calls itself Skinless. The latest sacrificial offering that it’s left on the altar for the vile waste of flesh known as mankind to consume is Only the Ruthless Remain.
After a decade-long hiatus, the New York-based death metal practitioners have returned with a destructive definition of brutal hate. All seven tracks on Skinless’ sixth full-length offering are devastatingly precise, crushing, and magnificent. There’s truly not one throwaway track here.
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There’s not a whole lot of variety to be found on Only the Ruthless Remain as it is a death metal album, and that usually means full on aggression. However, the album’s opener, “Serpenticide,” does start off with an incantation of sorts, going back to biblical material involving the devil as a serpent. But those whispers are very short lived before the onslaught of heavy, groove-laden riffs hit you in the face like a sandbag.
Musically — and I think it rings true throughout the album, not just on “Serpenticicide” — there’s a noticeable Slayer influence in the solos, the breakdowns, and just the song structures in general.
Then we get a dose of the album’s title track, which is a circle pit injury waiting to happen. It doesn’t start off this way, but it’s a furiously fast track that’s rich with tasty breakdowns and killer guitar solos. If your balls aren’t sweating after this one… There’s almost more diversity in this one song than there is on the whole album.
“Skinless” kicks off with some backwards recording effects, you know, to make sure listeners know that they’re listening to the devil’s music. This is the “pinch harmonics” track.
A few tracks later, listeners are given a short break from the pummeling with the intro to “Funeral Curse.” There’s a heavy bass rolling in the background and a very evil ‘80s-inspired clean guitar intro that will have you thinking back to the days of the PMRC and album burnings.
As stated, there’s no massive stretches of diversity on Only the Ruthless Remain, but there’s plenty to discover on repeat listening — and trust me, you’re going to want to listen to this on several times.
Metal fans looking to take a first step into death metal would do well to do so with Skinless’ Only the Ruthless Remain. True, it might be a doozy, but it’s at least solid footing. It is everything death metal originally set out to do, and it manages to incorporate a few elements to make it modern. No matter you're familiarity with the genre, if there's one death metal album you buy this year, consider Only the Ruthless Remain.