This is the latest audial assault from the noise warlocks Josh Byrd and Edward Longo who form Skin Tension. This album, Celebrant, is a massive album, with only five tracks. There’s no point in me sitting here and listing all of the genres and sounds that have influenced this release, and this band in general, so instead I’ll just label this ‘pulse metal’ as the band so nicely coined. If you’re even somewhat familiar with Skin Tension, then you’ll be expecting some wild drumming and incredibly mind boggling guitar works. There’s plenty of experimentation going on here, and personally, I find this one to be the most approachable out of the band’s discography.
Right off the bat, there’s no holding back. The opening is an explosion of guitars and drums and the madness doesn’t end for the following four and a half minutes. Just from the first track, you know this will be dense. But the drumming is immaculate, played with such intensity, and the guitars are absolutely insane, layering on top of one another and creating this hazy wall of sound that sweeps the listener up in its whirlpool of noise. It only gets heavier from there, the album is split up with three tracks hovering around the four to five and a half minute range, but with two of them standing out with one being eleven minutes and the other just under fourteen minutes. Now you may be thinking, ‘that’s a lot of noise!’ but in fact, it strikes the perfect balance. Especially on the eleven minute track Gemara, with its sudden pause and brief silence that’s only cut through with the band resting their instruments. But all of a sudden you’re dragged back in. This was my favorite track off the album, as the sudden jolt back into the music caught me by surprise and had me impressed at just how precise they were jumping back into it. While, there are vocals scattered through out the album, they’re rather unimportant, and rather forgettable at times. The banshee-like screaming sort of just blends in with the rest of the wall of sound that the instruments create, but when they do peek through they’re performed with plenty of gusto and a bit of emotional damage as well.
Honestly, after dedicating a large amount of time with their previous work Omni, which boasts well over a hundred tracks, and totaling at around twenty-seven hours, this is almost like a breath of fresh air. While, I do feel like there would be some who would be put off by such a far out there and experimental album such as this, as stated before, I do feel like this is easily the most approachable release they have too date. It’s just a perfect blend of grind, noise, metal, and what ever genre you wanna throw in there. It truly goes to show just how talented this duo is at creating some truly mind melting and boundary pushing music that I have a feeling people will look back on one day and realize the impact on underground music these guys will make. The level of dedication, practice, patience, and most importantly fun that these warlocks are having is very present in all of their albums, and this one is simply the best of the best that they have.
Get out of your musical comfort zone and give this album, and this band a listen. They’re well deserving of your time and any fan of experimental outsider music and most importantly, abrasive music, should certainly give this a spin. Celebrate the Celebrant.