First off, I’ll admit that I am a huge fan of the Skeletonwitch with Chance Garnette fronting the band. He was a formidable frontman with epic vocal abilities that fit perfectly with their blackened thrash. Upon his exit, I was understandably concerned, and I thought that one of my favorite bands was going to have to throw in the towel. It’s very hard to replace a frontman, especially one who helped to formulate the band’s sound from day one.
Well, inject one Adam Clemans (ex-Veil of Maya and current Wolvhammer) on vocals, and Skeletonwitch are back in full force. However, I would be remiss to say that things haven’t changed a bit, especially on Devouring Radiant Light. Their new sound definitely leans more toward atmospheric black metal than the previous albums, although this isn’t a bad thing. It’s just different, and it has really grown on me.
“Fen of Shadows” opens up the album with a more traditional and melodic Skeletonwitch sound. “When Paradise Fades” ups the ante and really goes for the throat. It’s a bit more catchy, but no less brutal. “Temple of the Sun” changes things up and adds that blackened, atmospheric tone. Clemans sounds killer throughout, but he really shines when this song hits its crescendo at the end. The title track actually reminds me of old Enslaved – haunting, melodic and punishing. The song has an atmospheric aura that continues to build throughout. “The Luminous Sky” marries the band’s traditional blackened thrash sound and the their newfound sound in grand fashion. “The Vault” is my favorite here, and it’s an epic song from front to back. Skeletonwitch focus on what they do best, and that is creating killer melodic guitar hooks amid hell-spawned vocals and blast beats. Clocking in at just under nine minutes this song reaches opus status. “Carnarium Eternal” hearkens to an older era with pummeling riffs to satisfy fans of every age. “Sacred Soil” closes out of the album with that atmospheric tone again, writhing through different segments and building to a magical ending.
Skeletonwitch have assembled one hell of a new album with Devouring Radiant Light. They’ve evolved through turbulent times, and they’ve came out on top with a different sound that suits them very well.
Devouring Radiant Light is out July 20 on Prosthetic Records. Buy it here!