Review: Skinlab

“reVolting Room”
(Century Media)

Moody and dark, with a cyber-twist of mechanical guitars and vocals.  Somewhere around the same spectrum as a stripped down Powerman5000, without the sci-fi and samples (and PM5K wish they could sound this good).  It’s loud and pummeling, but never to the point of knocking you over, more like a friendly smack in the arm (that leaves a bruise).  The drums show much of the personality as they change beats and tempos behind guitars that will hold down the same rhythm.  Lots of snaky, spinal rhythm guitar work, giving an evil crawl.  Vocals range from a raspy scream to a guttural spoken drawl, lending to the overall creepy, ominous vibe the band seems to be striving for.  Tenseness runs through guitars, always setting up the screams and drum attack most songs climax upon.  “Purify” shows some more melody to the vocals, bringing this close to something the radio just might touch, but the abrasive scream and tear sections keep the song too edgy for the mainstream.  Which is just where Skinlab falls on the radar.  Just a bit too heavy, just a bit too aggressive for safe radio.  But more attempts at a fluid, moving song than typical ‘metal’.  Which by recent definitions falls into the nu-metal category (down-tuned guitars, whisper to loud dynamics and ‘feel my brutal pain inside’ type lyrics), but this has a deeper commitment to creating something not as predictable.  And definitely falls on the heavier side of said over-used genre label.  Which is good, cause it’s a label Skinlab probably hates as their music kicks the shit out of most of the ‘heavy’ bands that see any kind of video play on the real music channels.  “reVolting Room” has the solid hit all the way through.  Recommended for those that say they like ‘heavy’ music, but are scared by anything truly intense.