By Dr. Abner Mality

Blasting out of the concrete wasteland of New York, SKULLSHITTER hit hard and brutal with their combination of raging grindcore and morbid death metal. Yet despite the undoubted rawness and intensity of "Goat Claw", there is something workmanlike and by the numbers about this record that hinders my enjoyment.

It may seem strange, but things are a bit too by the book. The short grind tracks are very much in the vein of TERRORIZER and PHOBIA, but not quite reaching the heights of those forefathers. Some cuts like "Bone Own" and "Following" seem like wide open noise without much in the way of discrete riffing. The longer, more death metal leaning cuts like "In The Grip of the Goat Claw", "The Beast" and "Locus of Death" fare better and stick in the mind more. But still I have the impression that SKULLSHITTER could do better yet.

Maybe I expect too much. The record does deliver unapologetic ferocity and I'm guessing they annihilate live. But it just needs more identity and quirkiness.