Review Summary: "We're not just going to shoot the bastards, we're going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks!"
Opening up on the track 'Overlord' on this record seems to greet the listener with something surreal. A sample of what appears to be an alien plotting world domination. From this the listener might gather that perhaps this isn't a record to be taken too seriously. The moment that sample ends the listener is proved wrong as the listener is effectively beaten into submission by some of the most unrelenting metal known to man. This is Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead and is arguably the best album to date created by Skinless. However by no means is it a classic. Merely just a blast of aural rape.
Doing a track by track review would be seemingly useless because of the nature of the music but in depth the band but the overall progression in sound quality is evident. Guitar tone on 'From Sacrifice To Survival' was thick but also very crunchy in an Entombed manner. Here it's thick but without the crunchy tone, it's an overall improvement to production value and makes a positive impact on the music. It is evident when you listen to the opening groove of 'Deviation Will Not Be Tolerated' which instantly comes across as extremely crushing. However aside from that there is little to be said about production, it's decent, bass is audible at times which I guess it's acceptable.
Perhaps one defining aspect of Skinless's music is the use of samples. On this album they can come across as amusing (Overlord, Trample The Weak, Hurdle The Dead) to very unsettling (Execution Of Reason.) However they do not take anything away from the music and help set the tone. Furthermore on 'Deviation Will Not Be Tolerated' the sample is interwoven into the groove at the end. Seemingly the impact effectively makes the sound more brutal.
Jason Keyser adds a large amount to the music. He has decent range but mainly dwells in the mid range death growl, occasionally he breaks out into a high pitch shriek or a pig squeal but apart from that little is notable of his vocal style. It just provides a large amount of variety which in a way compensates for when the instrumentation falls flat. The guitarwork on this album ranges from crushing grooves to a never ending heap of cluster***. In other words Skinless are most notable when they play slow material. However interestingly sometimes they can pull a doomy riff from out of nowhere during the occasional mess that occurs such as on songs such as 'Deviation Will Not Be Tolerated.' Drumming is perhaps a highlight on this album with Bob Beaulac demonstrating a large amount of skill in his work. He provides fills when needed but also maintains a consistent drum pattern which helps maintain the crushing aspect of the music at hand.
Musically I'd say this album is very consistent, too consistent, if it weren't for the samples then it would be hard to differentiate between tracks. However the quality of the music on each track is of a high level and possibly if this album were a little more varied then maybe it's rating would increase. Interestingly though is perhaps the track at the end of the album. A cover of Wicked World by Black Sabbath. It demonstrates an interesting side of Skinless as there is a large amount of melody integrated into the song. As it is one of the album highlights in my opinion I feel that Skinless possibly have more potential beyond the standard Death Metal fare. The fact that doom influences occasionally appear on the album possibly shows an area where development could be made. Apart from that this album is a burgeoning brute with some major chops to contend with.