Hard to believe it’s been a decade since we last heard from Bay Area post-thrashers Skinlab; the band that gave us groove metal classics such as Bound, Gagged and Blindfolded and Disembody: The New Flesh went into hyper-sleep not long after releasing The Scars Between Us to seemingly little fanfare in 2009. But if there’s one thing that metal history has taught us, it’s that you can’t keep a good band down and at last a reactivated and rejuvenated Skinlab have returned with Venomous, their fifth full length overall and first for Art Is War Records.
Indeed, Skinlab have seemingly taken the best aspects from each of their past works, the simple, catchy grooves of Bound, Gagged and Blindfolded, the varied, dynamic songwriting of Disembody: The New Flesh, the kinetic energy and heaviness of Revolting Room and the all-out aggression of The Scars Between Us and rolled them into one devastating album. Founding bassist/vocalist Steev Esquivel and longtime guitarist Steve “Snake” Green have always had the ability to pen a great groove metal song, but Venomous features a level of sophistication, focus and attention to detail that can only come from years spent honing one’s craft.
Venomous benefits from featuring some of Skinlab’s best songwriting and it just might also be their best-sounding release thanks to uber-producer Ulrich Wild, who’s worked with a who’s who of groove metal heavyweights such as Pantera, Prong and White Zombie to name just a few. Wild knows this style like the back of his hand, infusing the album with a heaviness that hits like multiple sledgehammers to the skull while avoiding the brick-walled-to-hell nonsense that’s killed many a modern metal album of late. Simply put, the muscular tones found on Venomous crush the competition in terms of both clarity and heft.
Skinlab have been off the metal radar for quite some time, but the energetic assault of Venomous makes it feel like they never left. The band sounds refreshed, re-energized and ready to claim the groove metal throne.
Skinlab 2020 tour dates:
1/23 – Holy Diver – Sacramento, CA
1/24 – Malone’s – Santa Ana, CA
1/25 – Brick by Brick – San Diego, CA
1/26 – Whiskey A GoGo – W Hollywood, CA
1/27 – Encore – Tucson, AZ
1/29 – Rockhouse – El Paso, TX
1/30 – Come & Take It Live – Austin, TX
1/31 – The Rail Club – Fort Worth, TX
2/1 – 89th Street – Oklahoma City, OK
2/2 – Aftershock – Kansas City, KS
2/4 – Fubar – St. Louis, MO
2/5 – Twisted Spoke Saloon – Pekin, IL
2/6 – Impala Ballroom – Marshalltown, IA
2/7 – The Forge – Joliet, IL
2/8 – Nikki’s – Sturgis, MI
2/9 – The Big Room – Columbus, OH