Sound — 10
This album grabbed me from the moment that quick little drum intro that leads the way for that face-melter of a solo that kicks off the record on the track "Upon Wings of Black". I hit play, stumbled back from the speakers which I had cranked to full volume and sat down on my bed. There I remained motionless for the next 40 minutes while "Beyond the Permafrost" blew me away. I had heard about this album from a friend but hads never bothered to it out until one day I was buying CD's on amazon.com and the site recommended me the album, remebering my friend talking about it, I decided to buy it. Now it gets almost daily spins in my stereo and still it's just as exciting as the first time I heard it. Skeletonwitch are a very tight-sounding, well rehearsed band, much more so here than on their debut full-length, "At One With The Shadows". They blend together NWOBHM style thrash riffs and shredding solo's with a strong Black Metal influence most notable in the vocals and the intro to the third track, "Baptized In Flames" and even a bit of Melodeath thrown in for good measure. All of this makes Skeletonwitch a little hard to catagorize into the one genre. If you wanted to be technical about it, you could call them Blackend Melodeath/Thrash but it's so much easier to just call them Extreme Metal, a label that describes their sound perfectly. One of the more original, and one of the few decent new thrash bands around, Skeletonwitch really put in a solid effort on this one. Near the end, "Beyond the Permafrost" tends to lose a little punch with slightly less memorable tracks such as "Limb From Limb", "Feast Upon Flesh" and "Remains of the Defeated". However the other 9 nine tracks are just awesome, "Within My Blood", the song that closes out the album is another gem that grows on you with each listen and is a great way to close out a very good album.
Lyrics — 9
Another thing Skeletonwitch do well is write bad ass lyrics. "Baptized In Falmes", "Sacrifice For The Slaughergod" and "Soul Thrashing Black Sorcery" all have well written lyrics. The themes of most of there songs include, vengence, demons, battles and freezing winter. All topics commonly found in Black Metal or Thrash Metal. THe lyrics definitly fit well with Skeletonwitch's music style and even better with the voice of one Chance Garnette. His seemless interchanges between deep Death Metal growls and higher, throaty Black Metal shrieks is very well done in all of Skeletonwitch's work. And he seems to have improved considerably since their first album. The Death Metal growls feature more frequently on "Beyond The Permafrost" as well and while I prefer his Black Metal vocals, theres no denying they sound kick ass.
Overall Impression — 10
There's not many albums I would give even one 10/10 to, but this album deserves them fully. The only thing stopping this from being my favorite album of all time is the lack of punch I talked about earlier near the end of the album, but hey, when was Black Metal ever about perfection? I can't think of anything I actually hate about the album, buitar work is great, vocals are excellent and the drums just top it all of, unfortunately though the bass really does nothing to stand out on the album and is inaudible for the most part except for a few seconds on the intro of "Feast Upon Flesh" which is disappointing because I think Skeletonwitch would benefit greatly from an exciting bass player. Stand-out tracks on the album would have to be "Baptized In Flames", Upon Wings Of Black", "Fire From The Sky", "Within My Blood", "Vengance Will Be Mine" and my favorite, the title track. If I lost this album I wouldn't hesistate for a second on buying a new copy. I recommend this to anyone who is sick of the generic crap being regurgitated by these new thrash bands and wanna hear something refreshingly original amongst a the sea of boredom that is the "thrash revival".