Sound — 9
Skeltonwitch's 5th studio album is finally here, and the title "Serpents Unleashed" is almost prophetic, as the band seems to unleash their full potential on this album. Solid from start to finish, the album begins with a blazing thrash riff on the title track, courtesy of guitarists Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick. About 20 seconds into the trach, vocalist Chance Garnette's assaults your ears (in a good way) with his familiar snarly-demon guttural vocals. Everything on the album sounds tight, as if the band is operating in the same gear. Evan Linger and Dustin Boltjes do a great job of keeping a tight rhythm while Nate and Scott play their signature style of blackened-thrash riffs. Chance does a good job with his vocals, and brings the overall tightness of the band together. The songs throughout the course of the album all stand out fairly well, and so it is hard to pick some highlights of the album, but I would say some of my favorite tracks were "Beneath Dead Leaves," "Burned From Bone," and the closing track, "More Cruel Than Weak."
Lyrics — 9
The usual Skeletonwitch lyrics are not in short supply here; there's plenty of violence and satanism for the whole family! However, the lyrics don't come across as being too cheesy or derivative, which is nice when you are dealing with stereotypical metal subject matter. One good example of this is on the song "More Cruel Than Weak": "My hands, my own salvation, my cause of victory. Triumph only comes to those that possess the will to confront, annihilate the enemy; Crush, destroy, and kill." Once again, Chance Garnette does a fantastic job with his delivery on the album, and although not a lot has changed in terms of his vocal style, the overall production of the album seems to enhance the vocals.
Overall Impression — 9
What has always made Skeletonwitch stand out from other thrash revival bands, or other thrash bands in general, is their unique blend of black and thrash metal, and they've always managed to retain their signature sound while not making it seem stagnant or repetitive. They really knew what they were doing on this album, and I have to say this is honestly THE best metal album I have listened to in quite a while. If it was lost or stolen, you can bet I would go out and buy it again (I already own it on both CD and vinyl if that says anything). It's definitely a fantastic record, and any metalhead should check it out.