Skaldic Curse was a band from UKBMs early 2000’s heyday, featuring members of Fen, Akercocke, and other contemporaries. Sadly, defunct after their second album World Suicide Machine I must admit I was rather surprised to see this album in my inbox for review as they officially split up back in 2011.
Devourer criminally never saw an official release, instead, it was rather quietly uploaded to Bandcamp in 2013 a full four years after recording. This was a real shame as Skaldic Curse showed significant promise, even by their own scene’s high standards. A full decade on from its recording curiously Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings has decided that now is the time for this to see an official release and to try and get this forgotten gem some of the acclaims it missed out on.
Opening with the titanic build of ‘Last Humanoid Howling’ before giving way to some Black Thrash there’s a real mix of old school BM vibes to this shades of Mayhem and, especially with the croaking vocals, Immortal heavily featured, especially on tracks such as ‘Impact Winter’, but fusing very well with the prog fused tendencies which could have come straight from any Akercocke album especially on title track ‘Devourer’.
The sound and production throughout are top quality, there’s a real weight behind the heavy sections such as the chugging start of ‘end-earth’ without sacrificing the more technical aspects the song employ throughout. The solo’s, tremolo’s and melodies have ice-cold crispiness and clarity throughout and the vocals claw desperately at the soul. Overall this combination is employed to great effect in creating the atmosphere on tracks like ‘Psy-War Approaching’ or ‘Abduction Void’ which are at times quite majestic.
No doubt about it, Devourer is a damn good album, it would have been a very strong album back in its day, and a decade later serves as a very welcome reminder of when UKBM was riding very high indeed. It’s great that it does finally see an official release or some description, even if it’s taken so very long.
Sadly this release will probably not make the band a bigger name, unless, it’s intended as a precursor to some form of reformation, but it’s obvious it deserves to have done so, this is most definitely Skaldic Curse’s masterpiece, and much like opening a time capsule from decades past is a very welcome reminder of just how strong the UKBM scene was back then.
8 / 10