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Black Metal, Doom, and Death Collide on Skyeater's Debut, 'The Maw of Time'

Post-Crowhurst, the four musicians behind this new California black metal doom cult are already slaying

by Kim Kelly
Jun 5 2017, 5:45pm

Skyeater is yet another entry into the perpetually expanding, reliably high quality California black metal canon, and an especially intriguing one at that. All four members appeared on a recent self-titled album from Crowhurst (who we interviewed here), but have since struck out on their own under the Skyeater banner, teaming up with Baneful Genesis for the official release of their debut album. The Maw of Time was recorded and mixed by Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios (which, as anyone who pays attention to the current state of heavy music knows, is one hell of a cosign) and drops on July 7. We're streaming it in full below, so if you're already intrigued and want to skip past my gushing description, I don't blame you. Time is money and we're all broke.

If, however, you don't mind reading about how much I like this record, then, hello! This record fucking rules, and I'm especially impressed by the atmosphere—which I know is generally a throwaway term to indicate that a record is spooky or whatever, but, hear me out. Skyeater builds upon its black metal foundation with funeral doom (guttural but still elegant!) and overall goth vibes, which add a considerable level of depth to the final result as well as conjuring a tangibly human, emotive sense of darkness than what one might expect from a more orthodox sound. This shit is miserable.

"Anticosmogony," for example, not only sounds heavy (the powerful percussion and surging tremolo riffs take care of that), but feels heavy, too. That weight sinks deepest into the ominous tension between the understated melodic riffs smothered in reverb, accompanied by patient, simple drum beats, and the drawn-out, hypnotic dirge summoned by guest vocalist Laurie Shanaman from Ails (who are also incredible, and who I've also gushed about here). Something wicked this way comes, and when it gets here, you're going to fucking know it. When the pace picks up, the riffs catch fire, and she launches into her inimitable roar, it feels like the world is crashing down around your headphones. It's undoubtedly a high point of the album, but the other three tracks keep hold of that sense of dynamics (especially the gloomy, crawling title track) and withhold their most cathartic moments until they've been earned.

Listen to The Maw of Time in full below, and preorder the shit out of that LP before it sells out!

Skyeater on tour:
June 24th- The Lexington, Los Angeles, CA w/ Waning
July 6th- The Crypt, Olympia, WA
July 7th-Tonic, Portland, OR w/ Druden
July 8th- Festum Carnis Open Air Festival Wilseyville, CA w/ Nachtmystium
July 9th- RS94109, San Francisco, CA w/ Swamp Witch

Kim Kelly is going dark on Twitter.
Photo by Anna Hummell /Photophobic Reflections

Tagged:
Music
California
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black metal
USBM
funeral doom
skyeater
baneful genesis