Skeletal Remains - Official Website

Fragments Of The Ageless

United States Country of Origin: United States

1. Relentless Appetite
2. Cybernetic Harvest
3. To Conquer The Devout
4. Forever In Sufferance
5. Verminous Embodiment
6. Ceremony Of Impiety
7. Void Of Despair
8. Unmerciful
9. ...Evocation (The Rebirth)
10. Messiah Of Rage (Hate Eternal Cover)

Review by Michael on March 3, 2024.

I remember when I discovered Skeletal Remains back in 2012 with their debut album Beyond The Flesh and how I recommended it to a friend telling him that if he wanted to have something like Asphyx this band would be pretty cool. Well, now 12 years later there isn't too much left that would justify such a statement. The band has morphed into a very brutal death metal band that lives from the relentless and bonebreaking riffs and drumming and also Chris Monroys' vocals have changed from Martin van Drunen-like to something more abyssic, monstrous and gurgling. Of course this isn't a big surprise if you followed the band and their last releases because they went more brutal with each album but this very uncompromising and highly unmelodic approach is remarkable at least and I didn't expect such a daring step. And no, it isn't just daring, it is also very challenging, I would say. When I gave it a first spin, I sat there afterwards, being pretty much clueless and to some certain point also a little bit disappointed. But giving Fragments Of The Ageless some more listens, I must state that this one is definitely a “grower”.

'Relentless Appetite' is pretty much what was expected by the guys. The song has many twists and turns and a thunderous double-bass line and with the reverbing and sonorous vocals with the double-layered voice this song spreads an atmosphere that Morbid Angel created on the after-D-album-era. Not to forget the pretty sick guitar solo that we can find here. And Morbid Angel plus Hate Eternal are probably the most influential band on that album. The gloomy opening riff in 'To Conquer The Devout' sounds like a “Gateways To Annihilation” copycat and when the vocals set in, this might be taken from some old Hate Eternal albums. So it is quite fitting that the guys did cover them with 'Messiah Of Rage' from their 1997 demo which I unfortunately didn't get with the promo. With 'Unmerciful' Skeletal Remains have a pretty long song on board too and this one is more creeping and mid-tempo paced and threatening because of the monolithic atmosphere. This one is probably the song to which the listener may get access easiest to. Although the track is not really less brutal, the structures are easier to comprehend and there are some more catchy parts than in the other songs. And before the Hate Eternal cover closes the album, the guys decided to show the world how skilled they are on their instruments. 'Evocation (The Rebirth)' is a 5 ½ minutes long instrumental song that somehow appears to be very hypnotic because of its repetitive elements but also a little bit too long and because I never was the fan of instrumental tracks, also pretty unnecessary.

Well, the band has done a very solid job with Fragments Of The Ageless although the one or the other fan might have some issues with the album because of the above mentioned aspects. After listening several times to it now, I must admit that I like the album now, especially when I am pretty pissed off because of something. Oh, and one note about the cover – this time they engaged Juanjo Castellano and Dan Seagrave, what a great mixture when it comes to metal art. While Dan Seagrave put the fiery and sinister atmosphere very detailed and (please forgive me this term in this case) caring on canvas, Juanjo Castellano was responsible for the inlay artwork and I guess both did a fantastic job with that.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10