Review! New Skeletal Faces – “EP”

About a month ago, New Skeletal Faces put out an EP on BandCamp.  Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the project. In fact, I still don’t.  After surfing around to the band’s various social media sites, I wasn’t able to gather very much information.  For the sake of brevity, let’s just consider the instrumentalists to be a mystery.  The tone of the EP would suggest that the band prefers it this way as well.

The EP features three tracks in total, and despite not finding much about the members, I had an idea of what I was about to listen to based on the descriptions used on the Bandcamp profile.  The tags used are DarkMetal, Deathpunk, and Occult along with several others including…San Diego.  After a bit of clicking around, I finally played the opening track titled Skeleton Structure. It was actually available as a video on the band’s Youtube site.  So, I was able to follow along with the lyrics while taking in some dark and cryptic imagery.  The entire stream takes place in a strobe light effect with flashes of suggestive BDSM images, slimy faces, and grainy silhouettes of what appear to be members of the band rocking out.

Sonically, the track was right in-line with the video…artistically dark with lyrics as random as the images.  Raked and unfretted guitar harmonics with a dissonant repeating bend create a noisy canvas that is anchored down by a rather simple, but cool minor key bassline.  Distantly similar (if that is a thing) bands that come to mind are Christian Death, Incomplete Monday, and perhaps early TSOL (think Weathered Statues).  The entire arrangement is heavily saturated in reverb and while the intro and initial groove earned my attention, I quickly was lost in a sea of ambient vocals and less than interesting lyrics:

Flesh shrouds the skeleton
Eyeless faces are new
Ejaculating from cocoons
The swamp has vanished
The swastika
It’s killing us

The drums did very little to save the arrangement.  There are very few straight snare fills (if any), and several quirky crash hits which give off an amateurish vibe.  Couple this with lengthy segments of seemingly out-of-place 16th note double kick drum lines and the song reaches maximum annoyance.

The following two songs for the most part follow suit.  With few highlights to speak of, Flesh Mirror features a slightly different beat which is a welcome change.  Unfortunately, the entire arrangement feels like a perpetual build up/bridge that never takes the listener anywhere.  Empathy Asphyxia has a decent main guitar riff, but it all gives way to the same drum groove used in Skeleton Structure…and yes…to include the terribly misplaced double kick drum line (insert listener fatigue).

For fans of death punk and B-rate horror flicks, this may very well be your new life soundtrack.  For me, New Skeletal Faces showed a few faint glimmers of promise, but I don’t see a repeat listen for this particular EP in my future.  Even still, I’m always open to checking out a band’s progression and believe it or not, I’d be curious to hear a follow up release.  The band’s FB page indicated they are looking for new members to add…more specifically, a keyboardist, and who knows?…sometimes changing a few elements creates a better concoction!

1.25 out of 5 SDP Skulls

Artist: New Skeletal Faces
Album: EP
Release Date: September 19th, 2017

Reviewed by Todd Dulawan

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