Friday, April 11, 2014


Dead Inside Records

San Fransisco's power thrashers Skinner return with their first full-length release and for those that liked what they did on "The Enemy Within" let's just say that you're going to LOVE what it's store for you with "Sleepwalkers"! Everything from production to performance has been tweaked and while the song-writing was good on the band's 2012 EP it's even better here! Lead singer Norman Skinner brings his A Game to the party and, as usually thanks to his absolutely commanding presence on the mic, it's his voice that provides the driving force behind Skinner! The very cool and kick ass title cut, which can be previewed below at the link thanks to it's official video, is just one of several cuts to have made it's way over from the group's previously released EP (the others being "Miss Agony", "Hell in My Hands", "Breath the Lie" and "The Enemy Within"). But, in this context (with six other cuts and fleshed out into a full-length release) these numbers work better and reverberate more with the listener. While they have been slightly tweaked to get the most out of them it's more a matter of having re-recorded the cuts so that they flow perfectly with the new cuts and have the same amount of metallic impact. Of the new cuts "Orphans of Liberty" is superb (heavy) power metal with plenty of speed, but then again so is "Blind Lead Blind" (not so much speed-wise, but HEAVY-wise!) and "Guilt-Ridden". Meanwhile opener "Firebird's Lament" isn't much more then an intro in actuality, but "Bound" offers plenty of CRUNCH and STAYING POWER as it's bound (pun intended!) to stick around in your head for sometime afterwards! All told Skinner's first full-length album sounds great and it gets passing marks in all the necessary areas from song-construction to actual execution and for fans of Norman Skinner it's a must have! With that power thrashers would also do well to give "Sleepwalkers" a spin as it a great example of U.S. metal done right! Mostly it resides on the HEAVY power metal/borderline thrash side of the fence, but there's some splendid surges of speed metal within that simply cannot be overlooked! And truth be told that's why releases like "Sleepwalkers" are also such a joy to welcome into one's metal collection as they are releases that one could listen to any day of the week! Will it make my 2014, year end "Best Of" list then? Time will tell but all signs point towards that very possibility!


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