Appalachian Sludge Unit Skincarver Return with New Album and Video
Appalachian metal, as I’ve said time and time again, is as wildly overlooked as it is diverse. Covering bands like Rhin, Horseburner, and Cavern has always meant a tremendous amount to me as someone who wants to give back in any way possible to the community that birthed me, so I was thrilled to find out about Skincarver, relative newcomers to the West Virginia metal scene.
Sludge has always had a distinctly southern quality to me, and Skincarver are doing an excellent job of incorporating that time-honored sound into a hardcore musical background while throwing in a touch of very of-the-moment nü metal nuance. Today sees the release of the band’s latest album, Shades of a Shallow Grave. The production this time around is bit cleaner than that on their last effort, 2016’s Born in Hell Put Here to Suffer and the songs seem to have matured since that album, which was more reminiscent of a reformatted hardcore band finding their footing in the extreme metal world. Tracks like “Vice” reach a deeper slog through the trenches of misery but display the confidence of a band experiencing a period of growth and fusion. There are no breaks and no pretty interludes to tide you over between breakdowns. This album is a brief but brutal ode to agony, a soundtrack to a slog through the tarpits of Hell capped off with my personal favorite track, the absolutely suffocating “Catotonic.”
In addition to the album release today, Skincarver have dropped a video for the album’s opener, “Rotting Roses.” It showcases the band’s gritty, stylish aesthetic in a way that draws on vintage-as-new-again video tropes that seem fresh, a reminder that not all metal is bloated dinosaurs doing their sixth farewell tour or releasing another corny lyric video no one will watch more than once. Directed by Errick Easterday, the video is quite a sophisticated effort for a band doing it all themselves on an indie budget. Check it out below.