Skeleton Key

UW Records 2011

Louisiana's blackened deathsters unveil their debut album with Skeleton Key.  For their first full-length, this is a relatively mature recording.  This is likely due to the amount of experience these veterans have amassed in other bands.  After a beautiful guitar solo instrumental the album explodes into a cold black metal riff and then corrupts itself with a more traditional death metal stomp on The Incorruptibles.  Layered dual vocals and pounding drums slice and bludgeon the listener.  But really the first standout track is Cry To Heaven.  Some Swedish sounding melodies surface in the post-chorus, but it is the ultradeep vocals and heavy rhythmic flow of the chorus that grabs, nay clenches, your attention!  After a so-so initial passage, Minutes Of The Corpse Trials unleashes a volley of black metal blasts and sawing death metal riffs.  The song then drops into some Morbid Angel styled rhythms.  Christ's Sword languidly moves with doomy melodies and muscular riffs.  Those Swedish melodies seek out the throbbing double bass drums and intricate cymbalwork.  Stepping towards a different texture, Keys to the Kingdom of God brings forth a whirlwind of sinew-shredding blackened death.  However they fail to maintain the momentum and the song falls into some ho-hum sections that don't hold the attention as expected.  Excommunicated's debut full length is a solid, though unspectacular debut album.  Several of the songs are outstanding, but this level of quality is not maintained throughout so the album loses steam and flounders at points.  I think as Excommunicated progresses their songwriting will become more consistent and they will become and unstoppable force.