"Devouring Radiant Light"

By El Chief

"Devouring Radiant Light" is Skeletonwitch's fifth full-length album, and it is phenomenal. That's quite a statement considering the longtime up-and-comers have never disappointed, even when doing something drastic like changing lead vocalists. 

I wouldn't go as far as to say it's their masterpiece, because there are moments when Skeletonwitch makes a misstep. For instance, the album's second track ("When Paradise Fades") spoils the momentum of the solid opener, "Fen of Shadows." The slow burn of Paradise would fit better near the middle of the album. 

Despite that minor grievance, enough cannot be said of the incredible run that begins with "Temple of the Sun." That and the two tracks which follow are graduate level odes to rock 'n' roll anthems, thrash and even a kiss of doom sprinkled with a heaping dose of At the Gates-inspired melo-death in "The Luminous Sky." If that trio can be considered graduate-level classes in extreme metal, then "The Vault" is a doctoral thesis. Somehow, Skeletonwitch is able to invoke a John Ford-style western instrumental with balls-to-the-wall thrash AND a generous refrain of traditional black metal. They just have no business being able to pull off so many influences and tempo shifts as effortlessly as they do. 

"Devouring Radiant Light" proves that Skeletonwitch belongs among the elite of American metal acts.