Though they are defunct now, the San Francisco thrash metal band Imagika proved to be somewhat of a boom for the revival of the thrash scene in the Bay Area, spurning yet another wonderfully aggressive band in the form of Skinner, named after lead singer Norman Skinner. The Skinner lineup is filled out by Robert and Grant Kolowitz on guitars, Elena Repetto on bass, and Noe Luna on drums. Having worked through 2011 writing, recording, and playing live gigs, they set themselves up with the release of their debut EP The Enemy Within, in preparation for their eventual album release of Sleepwalkers, hopefully later this year.
The Enemy Within is a five song EP, five songs of fiery ass whooping that is. If there is a moments rest in it, I must have missed it trying to catch my breath. The pace is set by the double bass drum which fires off at a cardiac inducing pace. Seriously, this guy is fast. The rest of the band does a more than adequate job of keeping up though, and the final product is a collection of some seriously fun thrash, the kind that makes ones neck sore for hours after listening to it. The opening song Sleepwalkers starts off with a long rip on the strings, then jumps into overdrive. The two guitars work together well to give the classic thrash sound I have known and loved since the early eighties. The bass manages to keep the pace well, though I felt it could be a bit more pronounced in the mix, but I love the bass, so that might be a personal preference. Skinner’s voice covers many ranges, and hits the mark on a lot of varieties of metal vocals, from the low growls to the splitting screams. The band’s separate elements work together well, very well, and I can envision them being a vicious live act.
The standout songs for me are Hell in my Hands and the title track. Hell in my Hands is a wonderful track with some incredible interplay between the guitars, it just settles into the ears so well. The title track does a similar thing, but with the vocals. Skinner’s two sides, the lower growls and the higher, clearer vocals, play well with each other, enhancing the final product immensely.
There is much promise here, hopefully they can take this great start on this EP and carry it to its fruition in the upcoming album. In the meantime, I need to keep an eye on the calendar for a date to catch this furious band live.