Yet another Swedish death metal supergroup of sorts, Skineater features members from bands such as Wombbath, Dark Funeral and Defleshed, some of the most veteran members in the old school Swedish death metal scene. Dermal Harvest is quite a curious album title indeed, with the band’s debut album certainly fitting their odd fascination with this outer layer of protective suit that covers each of us.
I dunno about you but this definitely left me kinda tickled at first, but the band certainly threw me off guard as the themes and music that are present on Dermal Harvest are certainly brutal as hell, and is sure to rip all traces of skin off your soft, vulnerable flesh. He Was Murdered hits the listener hard, with the band being rather relentless in the execution of their form of death metal, but this is just the band’s way of making a grand entrance as they display a more melodic side of their songwriting with the extremely melodic lead guitar lines that would be pretty commonplace throughout the album. The influences from their other old school death metal compatriots are rather heavy, bringing to mind such bands as Grave and Bloodbath with the crushing and brutal form of Swedish death metal, like on the intro riffs of Made of Godsick.
Yet the melodic sensibilities of the band are not forgotten, and apart from the lead guitars of Kari, the riffs that are unleashed also alternate between crushing and those that lean rather close to melodic death metal, at times even bringing about parallels to the later and more melodic material of bands like Hypocrisy. It also certainly helps that Jorgen’s vocals bear quite a striking resemblance to Peter Tagtgren at times. And this is certainly a good thing, allowing Skineater to stand out from the plethora of old school death metal emulators who focus too much on the brutal side of their craft and leaving out any sense of melody. Furthermore, the inclusion of melodic segments in rather unexpected moments on the album also ensure that things are constantly kept interesting, also helping fans of melodic death metal to transit to a more brutal form of the music.
The musicality of the band is also top-notch, with the axe-wielding duo displaying their versatility in their playing, one moment presenting some of the most brutal and crushing riffs, but switching to a more melodic, anthemic in an instance. Kari’s lead guitars especially are excellent, and the guitar solos manage to maintain that melodic aspect of the music yet displaying his technical flair in its full glory. The drumming of Matte is also equally relentless, and along with the rest of the rhythmic section provides much of the energy on the record, matching the aggression of vocalist Jorgen.
To top this off, the excellent and extremely polished production quality ensures that none of the band’s talent goes unheard, allowing for each of the instruments on the album to ring out extremely loud and clear. Certainly, Skineater‘s Dermal Harvest has provided a much needed fresh breath of air into the overly saturated Swedish old school death metal revival.