Skinless - Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead
Relapse Records
Death/Grind Metal
8 songs (36'43")
Release year: 2006
Skinless, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Adam
Sometimes, an album defies personal logic. On the surface, it appears to have all the qualities of music that put you off. Yet somehow, you find yourself listening to said album repeatedly. Such is the case with Skinless, and, in particular, their new album Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead. I have heard Skinless in the past, and, while they have always sounded great, there was just something missing as far as I was concerned. Maybe I just need to see their legendary live show, who knows? Well, although I can’t quite pinpoint the reason, I am pretty impressed with their latest release.

Skinless have never been known for their originality, and there is nothing here that should change this sentiment. You’ve heard this style numerous times before, but there is a certain intangible attitude that puts Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead a notch above most of its peers. The general theme, as you could probably guess by the album artwork and title, is war. Samples from war films are all over this album, and they serve the atmosphere well. For example, “We’re not just going to shoot the bastards, we’re going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those bastards by the bushel!” This line, taken from George C. Scott as the title character in the classic war film Patton, opens the supremely brutal title track. This scenario is common, as the whole album is one unrelenting assault of grind-tinged death metal after another. The members of Skinless sound better than ever, as even the major lineup change for this album is hard to notice. I am speaking of the departure of longtime vocalist Sherwood Webber in favor of bassist Joe Keyser’s brother Jason. Keyser shows that he is a very dynamic death metal vocalist, shifting from deep growl to mid-range screech rather seamlessly. His performance on Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead makes it easy to forget Webber, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that Noah Carpenter’s piercing guitars sound better than ever alongside the pummeling drums of Bob “Big Guns” Beaulac.

Most of the tracks on this abbreviated album are fairly indiscernible from one another. There are those that severely penalize a band for sticking with the same sound for all their albums, but I am not among them. Each of the first seven tracks is a brutal slab of death/grind metal with little variation. However, the true gem on Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead is the closing cover song, Wicked World. That’s right, proof that Black Sabbath influenced all metal, this is a true cover, not an imitation. By this, I mean that Skinless have expanded on the sound of Wicked World and made it their own. This song stands in contrast to, say, Pantera’s cover of Planet Caravan, which was meant to sound like a replica of the Sabbath version. Not so here, as the melody is the lone remnant of the original. It’s a nice track if you’ve ever wondered what a Black Sabbath song would really sound like if performed by a death metal band in their own style. Skinless even throw in the bass segue to N.I.B. for the last ten seconds. Overall, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead, though not groundbreaking, comes off well. I would say it's too short, but as most of the songs sound alike, that's probably a good thing. Maybe I’m getting drawn in by the cover art and war sounds thrown in (I swear I even heard tanks in the background of one song), but this album really sounds like something soldiers would listen to before going to battle. Yeah, everything here has been done before, by Bolt Thrower and others, but really, who cares? The attitude and technical skills of Skinless make their unoriginality easily forgivable.
Killing Songs :
Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead, Wicked World
Adam quoted 76 / 100
Dylan quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Skinless that we have reviewed:
Skinless - Only the Ruthless Remain reviewed by Andy and quoted 68 / 100
Skinless - Foreshadowing Our Demise reviewed by Khelek and quoted 92 / 100
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