As someone involved in a lot of diverse areas of metal music, it’s refreshing to find a band with an unusual back-story. It’s not something the band shout about particularly, but death metallers Skarthia first met at a Jewish high school in London, playing mostly charity gigs – the only non Jewish member is their drummer Wayne Thomson. Why is this relevant, you may ask… well for me this album has a really fresh feel about it, and that may well be the fact that founder member Avi Myers composed much of the album whilst studying in Israel, where many might not realize, the thrash scene is full of vibrant and thriving.
On to the album, and the most important part of any new offering, the first track; ‘Drill‘ introduces proceedings with a layered mix of drum fills, languishing bass and guitar harmonics that tease and draw you in until the first riff hits, and the first sense of Skarthia’s power takes hold as the vocals, reminiscent of Chuck Schuldiner with it’s cutting tone, kick in. The tune continues with a mix of filtered spoken word and melodic female backing, and I’m ready for more.
Throughout Retaliate the feeling I was given was of variation and inventiveness. There’s not much that hasn’t been done in metal, whatever the genre, but taking the best of influences and creating something new is the key to any good album, and Skarthia bring together a huge amount of riffs, patterns and textures to produce track after track of highly enjoyable metal.
The album’s legacy is the amount of addictive riffs, choruses and super-melodic guitar leads it implants in your head, such as Demolition’s “We Will Previal” chorus line, which often pops into my thoughts at random moments (such as trying to get to sleep last night, thanks guys). On only the second or third listen to the album, songs like ‘Liefest‘ with it’s driving intro make you feel like you’ve know them for years, and that to me is what makes any new album endure.
At some points I did feel like I wanted a touch more bass or bottom end to the production, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that this album is all their own work and solidly created. It’s not an easy job to bring together such complex layers of sound with the results these guys have achieved.
Retaliate is an album that’s absolutely rammed with riffs, hooks and melodies which will bring you back to it again and again. To classify them simply as death metal denies the rich diversity of music on offer, it’s just top notch heavy music that spans styles and finds it’s own voice. Why it’s taken so long to come to our attention is beyond me. Very accessible, very fucking catchy.
Avichai Myers – Guitar/Vocals
Sapir Rajuan – Guitar
Adam Gigi – Bass
Wayne Thompson – Drums
Very accessible, very fucking catchy.