Skeletal Remains – ‘Fragments of the Ageless’

Skeletal Remains
Fragments of the Ageless
Century Media
It’s perfectly natural to master emulate

Note: This review originally ran with the incorrect cover art in the April 2024 edition of Decibel. It is presented here in its proper Dan Seagrave-painted glory. 

Skeletal Remains were generated from the crucible of a long-established formula. Their modus operandi has always been the obvious mimicry of Morrisound’s death metal heyday, and at five records in, this band has essentially become an emulation of their own emulation. Considered in the least flattering light, each successive album in their catalog is basically the equivalent of an iOS update: much ado about the insinuation of trivial bells and whistles.

However, Fragments of the Ageless is also a testimony to Skeletal Remains’ prowess; they are masters of this art form. New drummer Pierce Williams may have actually outshone Charlie Koryn’s performance on 2020’s The Entombment of Chaos. Their guitar team’s frequent leadwork is engaging and meaningful (unlike many guitarists within the genre who seem to treat their solos as “that special time in a song when they get to flash us their business card”). The record is sonically incredible, and I don’t believe that there’s a weak track in the bunch.

My grievance is more contextual. Not only could any of these compositions have comfortably existed on their previous records, but with few exceptions—such as the drawling, Cannibal Corpse-esque riff kicking off “To Conquer the Devout”—one could exchange any of Fragments’ riffs from one song to another and it wouldn’t have any measurable impact on their cogency or quality. This amounts to a satisfying listen in short bursts and a total slog as a complete work. And honestly, I miss the dippy song titles from the last record (try saying “Dissectasy” with a lisp).

Admittedly, my feelings on this record are rife with ambivalence. In summation, this is Skeletal Remains’ best album to date. And I feel… fine.

Review taken from the April 2024 issue of Decibel, which is available here.

Pre-order Fragments of the Ageless here

The post Skeletal Remains – ‘Fragments of the Ageless’ appeared first on Decibel Magazine.

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