Cleveland death metal institution Shed the Skin premiere the new track “Blades of the Lightning Altar” at heavily trafficked web-portal MetalSucks.net. The track is the second to be revealed from the band’s highly anticipated fourth album, Thaumogenesis, set for international release on May 27th via Hells Headbangers on CD format; the vinyl version will follow later this year. Hear Shed the Skin‘s “Blades of the Lightning Altar” in its entirety exclusively HERE.
By now, Shed the Skin should require little introduction. Hailing from the metal hotbed of Cleveland, Ohio, Shed the Skin are a veritable hydra-head of underground experience: drummer Kyle Severn (Incantation, Perdition Sect), guitarist Matt Sorg (Ringworm, Perdition Sect, Soulless, ex-Blood of Christ), vocalist/guitarist Ash Thomas (FaithXtractor, Crucified Mortals, Surgikill, The Vladimirs), and bassist Ed Stephens (Ringworm, Shok Paris, Vindicator, Vanik). And while the band formed as a tribute to fallen friend and bandmate Tom Rojack of Blood of Christ, Shed the Skin have taken on a life of their own over three albums for Hells Headbangers – 2016’s Harrowing Faith, 2018’s We of Scorn, and 2020’s The Forbidden Arts, notwithstanding their Rebirth Through Brimstone debut EP in 2014 – which have reaped acclaim for their acute balance of death metal’s old school and its newer one, remaining crushing and compelling every step of the way.
That classicist-into-modernist formula has indeed proved fruitful for Shed the Skin, but at last do they return with a well-timed tweak of their sound: Thaumogenesis, the band’s fourth full-length to date. The clues to this transformation can be found in the title itself. “Thaumogenesis” is the result of resurrection spells opening two portals – one for the returning soul, the other for an anti-soul created in the process of the ritual; the more “success” there is in the ritual, the more the anti-soul grows and ultimately latches to a returning mortal to give birth to a demon. As such, Shed the Skin here seek new paths on which to tread, starting with the studio. For Thaumogenesis, they recorded with Noah Buchanan (Nunslaughter, Midnight, Kurnugia) at Mercinary Studios as opposed to Unisound & Dan Swano, who had mixed & mastered all previous recordings. Likewise, they went with Justin Meyers of Dark Art & Craft (Axioma, Ancient VVisdom, Perdition Sect) for the cover art as opposed to Ringworm’s Human Furnace, who had done the cover art for the three previous albums.
If these subtle-yet-significant changes signal anything, it’s a further intensification of that signature Shed the Skin sound – still 100% SATANIC DEATH, as they intended from day one – but given dazzling new twists. For one, while the preceding The Forbidden Arts showed the band at their most varied, Thaumogenesis brings even more variety whilst remaining deadly focused. The riffs club and slash, grinding and also graceful, with electrifying and immediately memorable solos flying fast and free; Severn’s drums anchor this shapeshifting attack with a dervish-like mix of speed and stomp. Secondly, the production here is impeccable, proving one can “clean up” without losing an ounce of grit or grime; every note, drum hit, and torn vocal cord sizzles with a clarity that’s more crushing than ever. But, more than anything, it’s Shed the Skin‘s songwriting across the album that puts Thaumogenesis into a masterclass all its own, proving that death metal can stay pure ‘n’ proud but also move forward. Credit for that must also go to Incantation’s Chuck Sherwood, who once again provides lyrical concepts, which cover an array of topics including Scottish pagan tribal warfare, ancient Persian goddess worship, Mongolian/Siberia sacrificial rites, Belarusian shapeshifting rituals, Judean/Arab conquests, Roman ritual curses, Hindu death cults, and classic demonology.
“After three albums, we wanted to explore new and different perspectives sonically and visually without losing the main focus that has always been to create high-quality, memorable, and crushing death metal,” concludes Thomas. Indeed, Shed the Skin have accomplished that (and then some) with Thaumogenesis. Death metal’s new “old kings” have returned, refreshed and revitalized – and ready to rip your soul apart!
In the meantime, hear the brand-new track “Blades of the Lightning Altar” exclusively HERE, courtesy of MetalSucks.net. Also hear the previously revealed track “Ingress-Thaumogenesis” HERE at Hells Headbangers‘ official YouTube channel. Preorder info can be found HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Shed the Skin’s Thaumogenesis
2. She of Urgarit
3. Invincible in Iron
4. Slaughtered in the Solar Eclipse
5. Hounds of Orrea
6. Quenched From Kapala
7. Blood Runs Red
8. Blades of the Lightning Altar
9. Snow Forest Sacrifice
10. Voces Mysticae-Egress