Most demos you hear today can be put into two categories. The first is a bunch of fifteen year old kids recording painfully generic hardcore/metalcore in their parents' garage with terrible sound quality coming from Nowheretown, USA, desperately looking for your Myspace add. The second is usually a lineup littered with current and ex-members of prominent older bands and the band is so hyped and jocked that most kids just fall in line and say, "This is the best band in (insert genre here)." Skin Like Iron falls in the latter category. This band has current and ex-members from well-known Bay Area bands like These Days, At Risk, and Gunsmoke. Now ordinarily I approach bands like this cautiously because most of the time the buildup isn't all it's cracked up to be. But don't let the band's reputation precede it.
It's pretty hard to give band similarities for this demo. I'd say the sound is somewhere between Mind Eraser and Fucked Up, but heavier. And when I say heavy, I mean a dark, raw, and almost sludgy tone, meaning that in the best way possible. This theme carries out through the length of these songs; the dark sound evokes an impression of immense heaviness without using breakdowns or mosh parts. The lyrical-less intro track of the nine-song demo begins with a thick, slow bass line that slowly dives into the full band, transitioning well into the rest of the songs. And the songs change up more than you would think; the third track, "Makeshift Crown," begins almost like an old Suicide File song.
I think the thing I like the most about this demo is how subtle it is. It's not blatantly hard-hitting like the first time you heard Cowboys From Hell, but the more you listen to it the more forceful it becomes. It has the parts and riffs that you want to hear, but it's not quite like the other stuff you've heard recently.
Now I know I'm running the risk of over-hyping a band whose website got shut down from too many downloads in the first week they were up. But if you're a cynic (like me) and don't believe it can be as good as the hype, you need to listen to it, just to make sure you actually dislike it. But in all honesty, this demo is worth your attentive listen. The medieval layout is also an awesome bonus.
8.7 / 10
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