Since Shed the Skin released their first EP, entitled Rebirth Through Brimstone back in 2014, I have been anticipating a new release from this group. Being an Ohio native, I love listening to, supporting, and writing about Cleveland metal, and when a band from my hometown writes an album as bone crushing as Rebirth Through Brimstone, well, that’s something to be excited about. Shed the Skin is somewhat of a super group, comprised of members from respected underground bands like Ringworm, Blood of Christ, and Incantation. Veteran chops like that are bound to produce face ripping, blood curdling old school death metal.
In comparison to Shed the Skin’s prior release, Harrowing Faith is notably less crushing. The production is distinctly polished, taking away from the bestial and pounding ambiance that marked the band’s sound in the past. That said, the differences in the production quality didn’t ruin this album for me. If I were to have listened to Harrowing Faith with no expectations, I would have loved it. The sound is an intense, high energy throwback to Soulless and Exhumed, especially on earlier tracks like Daimonic Adytum and Putrid and Pious. The guitars are pronounced and in the forefront and the riffs are interesting; even techy at times. The is no lack of infectious, circle pit driving riffage on this album.
The album really started to pick up for me around track eight, Alpha and Omega, when they introduced some slower and mind-blowing heavy breaks. Ash Thomas’ throaty growls were the real stand out feature on this album. His vocals were gripping enough to crack the sky. Of course Kyle Severn drumming was peircing and on point. I definitely preferred the slower tracks on the album, Cambion and Innermost Sanctuary being among my favorites. This is the band’s true strength: slow, crushing breaks. Overall, Harrowing Faith was a hit for me. I would recommend it.