#FOR FANS OF: Thrash Metal, Torrefy, BattleX
Toiling in the underground since 2003, French thrashers Skox have had very little output since their creation, spawning only a demo and an EP release five-years later before another six-year gap in releases until now. From the beginning this generates the kind of short, sharpened bursts of thrash which becomes quite frantic and generally far more vicious than expected as there’s a series of tight, vicious rhythms with wildly-chaotic leads that are feverishly played over the whole effort. Likewise, the shorter rhythms work well here in making for a routinely enjoyable mid-tempo chug to dominate the majority of the album, and generally works quite well here by keeping the material up-beat and charging along with the bouncy tempos off-setting the raging rhythms into a solid whole. There’s a feeling here that the album could deal with a more pronounced set of intense tracks here, as though those are where the band really scores quite well the fact that it’s drowned out by the tighter-yet-less-energetic mid-tempo sections causes this to drop off in intensity throughout the album which is slightly troubling. Still, this one is a debut offering and does get a slight pass on that front as the band should get experience to even it out, and for the most part there’s a lot to like here in the tracks. The instrumental intro ‘Entering the Battlefield’ uses it’s militaristic marching to great effect leading into the title track as the swirling, ravenous drumming and vicious stuttering thrashing rhythms carrying this along into a solid series of chugging riff-work that brings along some vicious rhythms along through the final half for a solid and engaging effort. ‘Cell Swelling’ continues the solid mid-tempo chugging patterns with some solid and enjoyable mid-tempo rhythms with plenty of rattling drumming and vicious riff-work throughout the final half for another enjoyable effort. ‘Running Out of Time’ gradually builds into a strong stylistic chug series of rhythms that settle into a solid mid-tempo groove that runs throughout the main rhythms with several slight tempo changes along the way leading into the chugging finale for a solid effort. ‘Thrashtastik’ features some bouncier riff-work and some lively rhythms that carry out through the first half only to get turned into more mid-tempo patterns and thumping chugging riff-work through the final half for a decent if overall unspectacular effort. The bland ‘Engine of Death’ employs chunkier chug-riffs with a steady, solid stream of mid-tempo paces that march singlemindedly along with the vicious chugging carrying the rhythms along into the blistering finale for a fantastic finish to an overall bland offering otherwise. ‘Road 666’ gets this back on track with some decent chugging rhythms and stuttering riff-work that bring the more vicious patterns into the wild and frenetic rhythms of the charging finale for another solid and enjoyable effort. ‘March of the Dead’ is back to the straightforward and simplistic chugging rhythms here which manages to add a slightly more intense charge along through the stuttering rhythms featured throughout the plodding final half for a bland finish that doesn’t detract from the enjoyable first half. ‘Smash Your Enemy’ offers simplistic, plodding chugging rhythms into a series of ravenous swirling patterns with plenty of fiery, energetic patterns and plenty of furious patterns that carry on through the final half for a stellar, standout effort. Finally, album-closer ‘Leaving the Killing Field’ offers a simple series of swirling melodic rhythms and rather simplistic patterns that loop over into a relaxing tempo for a somewhat lackluster and bland final impression here. Still, this here is decent enough when it really matters.