EP REVIEW: The Apothic Gloom – Skeletonwitch

SKELETONWITCH have always crossed the boundaries in being one set genre in metal, blending blackened thrash, death and heavy metal to create something out of this world. Now with their new EP, The Apothic Gloom, there is no questioning that it will have some of most hard-hitting tracks the band have ever done.

Easing into the EP with a haunting acoustic intro is the EP title track, for the first few moments the sincere tone of elegant guitar playing and sound effects transfixes you, waiting for that almighty smack of SKELETONWITCH. As the drums begin to batter next to their electric riffs, you only have to hold your breath for a second before being plunged into the depths of what make this band so brilliant.

The EP already at such an early point features some of their most astonishing and catchiest riffs with battering drums and the destroying vocals of new vocalist Adam Clemans. The front-man had a huge name to live upto and many fans were sceptical, however he has stomped on each shed of concern that he would not be able to fill the boots of predecessor Chance Garnette. His sheer power and monstrous voice echoes and fits with the style that the American band deliver.

Well of Despair is an easy follow-up to The Apothic Gloom, however it is evident that as this EP progresses, their sound gets meatier and more textured. Adding layers of their different styles with each step. At some points, there are noticeable chills, oozing out of subtle hints from melodic black metal.

Black Waters creeps into the more blackened thrash vibe, a sound noticeable from SKELETONWITCH, the riffs are soul-crushing, an yet again cementing the fact that Clemans was the most suitable choice for joining the band. Each second of Black Waters pours out every aspect of what made the band so vital to the metal scene, pushing the boat out and delivering what can only be described as ultimate shreds of destruction. It is lively, dark and has the power to intoxicate your ears, especially as the song creeps closer to a wonderfully harmonious solo. The solo is absolutely heart-wrenching, it pulls you in like a tidal wave, closing the track into the final track on the EP Red Death, White Light.

As the finale hits you like a battering ram, it is clear that despite being one of the notable bands in metal, that they only get stronger despite their circumstances. At just over 7-minutes long, Red Death, White Light reaps in darkness and power. It’s gut-wrenching and it elegantly consumes you into the depths of the hell it in itself creates. For a closing track, it may not be the bands strongest choice but it still leaves you longing for more, and after three years of waiting and the questions on how the band would be considering their hardships, that’s something very unique to have under their belt.

Whilst The Apothic Gloom isn’t the strongest release from SKELETONWITCH, they must be sincerely applauded for carrying on and delivering the start of something wonderful with Clemans. He has asserted his place in the band, and after this EP will only mean he will stabilise himself as an integral part of the five-piece. As far as EP’s go, it only excites you for any further material that they will release.

With some of the most stunning riffs and incredible melodies, alongside sheer rawness – it is no wonder that these American men have rooted themselves firmly to the ground, refused to move and had flocks of fans join their forces. The Apothic Gloom can only be an exciting new chapter for SKELETONWITCH.

Rating: 8/10

Skeletonwitch - The Apothic Gloom
The Apothic Gloom is out August 19 via Prosthetic Records.

For more information on SKELETONWITCH like their official page on Facebook.

Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.