Ohio based extreme metal band, Skeletonwitch have a new album coming out in July called Devouring Radiant Light. They have just released the first single from that album. That single is Fen of Shadows.
Devouring Radiant Light is due out on the 20th of July via Prosthetic Records. It will be the first release from Skeletonwitch since 2013’s Serpents Unleashed. A cracking album and one that ended up marking the end of an era. Serpents Unleashed ended up being the last album recorded with frontman Chance Garnette. Garnette ended up dropping out of a European tour before it emerged he was being charged for assault and battery on a family member. Garnette opened up about alcohol abuse, sought treatment and was removed from the band.
More recently, in March this year, drummer Dustin Boltjes also left the band permanently. He hasn’t been replaced yet, instead Jon Rice has stepped in for live duties. Garnette’s permanent replacement is Adam Clemans of Wolvhammer and ex Veil of Maya. On guitars we have founding members Nate Garnette and Scott Hendrick and on bass is Evan Linger.
So a difficult time for the band and a 5 year wait but here we are. New Skeletonwitch. This is Fen of Shadows, but is it any good? Fen of Shadows is a long one, at just under 8 minutes in total. It starts with a beautiful yet sombre melodic guitar. The intro is actually a good 90 seconds long and consists of dual guitars before a fast drum beat joins in and adds the crunch. A brief stutter sees the song explode into life with a deathly growl from Clemans. His vocals have power and presence and you quickly see he is going to be a rock solid addition to the band.
Fen of Shadows moves through different phases using Boltjes’ drum skills to tweak the tempo and the guitars to hold a heavy riff punctuated with melodic lines. A rhythmic groove section sounds perfect and forces you to headbang while Linger’s bass applies a thick layer of foundation to the whole song. The chorus has some power and ferocity with blasting drum beats, a high guitar line over a low riff and powerfully roared vocals. A brief slow down adds a little more guitar melody before the instruments come crashing back in and we head into a huge, brooding solo.
This instrumental section continues through to the end with occasional guttural and demonically roared vocals joining the masterful music. Fen of Shadows is a huge track. It is expansive and a little progressive showing a band that have been through the ringer recently and come back fighting. A wonderful example of dark and heavy, doom laden extreme metal.
Check out Fen of Shadows for yourself on Prosthetic’s YouTube channel here. You can also grab it on the usual streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify. Preorder Devouring Radiant Light in one of it’s many formats from here. Finally, you can grab this single and more from the band at the links below. Keep up to date with news and release information from Skeletonwitch at their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page.
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Fen of Shadows by Skeletonwitch (Devouring Radiant Light)
The Final Score - 9/10