REVIEW: Skyburial – Faithless Eternal [2017/EP]

Artist: Skyburial
Album: Faithless Eternal – EP

What do you believe in? Do you think it will save you when you find yourself at your weakest moment—air escaping from your battered lungs and blood thinning, anemic in your veins? Do you think it’ll we allow you to lift your head and strengthen your neck even while the remainder of your body is prostrated before death?
The truly faithful will sing with power and intent a resounding yes, I believe.
The rest of us remain silent.
Faith is a powerful thing—powerful enough to instigate the most deadly wars our planet has ever seen; powerful enough to incite both great and harmonious unison and divisive, devastating acts of mass extinction. Faith is a powerful thing—but Colorado-based crushers Skyburial prove that faithlessness can be just as intimidating. With their powerful and provocative new release, Faithless Eternal, the quintet deliver seventeen minutes of spine-shattering brutality, combining the lyrical and self-deprecating lyrical content of deathcore’s progenitors with a shiny, lustrous new production and finish, adding just hints of groove here and there. The result is an EP that sounds ten times bigger than it is—and while it doesn’t see Skyburial emerging as the most unique example of heavy music 2017 or the years prior have seen, Faithless Eternal remains an EP that will stay on repeat for weeks to come.
Instrumentally, Skyburial waste little time with ethereality, instead opting to go directly for the throat. “Devoid” stands as an excellent example of this—with a high-octane display of rampaging riffwork from guitarist Ricky Germaine and punctual, punchy percussion from Shawn Baker. While Baker may not spend much of Faithless Eternal showing off hypersonic footwork or Mike-per-minute gravity blasts, he is the very sound of clean, creative and crushing drumming. The two-part series “When Night Comes…” and “…The Wolves Roam Free” make that abundantly clear—as Baker works with bassist Shane Hobbs to create a murky, murderous low end that smothers every square inch of positivity in the listener’s head with acrid, dense darkness. Meanwhile, guitarist Germaine is equal parts groovy (the EP’s title track is a strong example) and gruesomely heavy—even where he may ever so slightly over-do the layered killswitch effect heard in the introduction to “Devoid” and “Spitting Image,” among others. Even in light of that, there is no denying how positively haunting Germaine’s leads throughout “When Night Comes…” and “Spitting Image” are—especially with his thrashy, distinctly death-metallic his leads and riffs throughout the entire latter track are. The band are a tight-knit force of nature that make up for their lack of overt technicality with oppressive heaviness and catchy, beautifully played and eerie leads that reign supreme even when every other aspect of the track veers towards sludgy brutality.
Skyburial are more than just a gleaming display of grotesque aggression, however. Or rather, their musicianship isn’t the only way they create such a dynamic. Frontmen Cody Cartwright and Nate Meyr are incredible at creating an intricately woven tapestry of guttural-and-shrieking screamed anger that bridges the link between yesteryear’s vocal stylings and contemporary styles and patterning. At first, Cartwright and Meyr sound as though they could be one vocalist just working a pretty rigorous double shift—but as Faithless Eternal carries on, their dynamism as a duo becomes apparent. This especially true on “…The Wolves Roam Free” and on “Faithless Eternal,” complete with mile-per-minute vocal patterns and intense range and pitch shifts that are simply staggering. The duo keep time with the most bustling and busy portions of the release, eviscerating the listener with grisly low after grisly low—or piercing shriek after piercing shriek. The bottom line is that Skyburial are vocally and lyrically interesting, keeping the listener engaged for the EP’s duration—which, when it comes to heavier music, isn’t guaranteed these days.
Skyburial’s latest EP arrives at the perfect time to capitalize on the immense upswing of deathcore taking place in both the United States and around the world. Faithless Eternal—while not flawless–is furious, fast and heavier than ten elephant scrotum; what more can you really want? With groovy moments, grisly breakdowns and sections with speedy, flashy riffs highlighting fleet footwork and thudding bass, Skyburial cover an absurd amount of stylistic ground over such a short period—and with just a touch more refinement, they could be a band whose legacy will most definitely become Eternal.

For Fans Of: At Rest, Oceano, Salt the Wound, Dealey Plaza
By: Connor Welsh