(Cover art illustration and design by Dordji Bowles and Ryan Rich)
Veteran west coast metallers SKELATOR has signed with Gates Of Hell Records for the release of their fifth studio album, “Cyber Metal”. The album is due June 14 in European territories and June 21 in North America.
Formed in 1998, SKELATOR has capably flown the flag of never-say-die true metal, harnessing Jason Conde-Houston’s stratospheric vocal range, dueling guitar harmonies and battle-tested rhythms. SKELATOR originally met Cruz Del Sur Music/Gates Of Hell owner Enrico Leccese in 2013, who relayed word that SLOUGH FEG leader Mike Scalzi suggested the label sign the band. Fast-forward six years and the two parties have joined forces for “Cyber Metal”.
“Creating ‘Cyber Metal’ was a long process for us, not just recording and writing, but finding the right lineup as well,” says Conde-Houston. “We started writing for the album in 2016 but had two incidents of needing to find a bass player to round out the lineup which effectively put a stop to the writing process. Luckily in 2017, we found Darin Wall and he brought the driving bass that we needed to solidify the lineup. His playing immediately locked in with Pat’s [Seick] ‘rock bomb’ drumming style and enabled Robbie [Houston] and Rob [Steinway] to focus in on delivering the guitar harmonies and heavy riffs and allowed us to shape the band’s sound into what we have always wanted. I can say without hesitation that this current lineup of the band is the most talented and cohesive that it has ever been.”
With the goal of making “Cyber Metal” their “most polished effort to date,” SKELATOR has assembled a batch of songs that deftly combine modern German power metal (GRAVE DIGGER, PRIMAL FEAR) as well as classic influences such as JUDAS PRIEST and RIOT. The result is an album with no shortage of screaming vocals, high-flying guitar solos, thunderous bass, gated drums and even extra doses of keyboards.
The album was recorded throughout 2018 between a variety of studios, including drums at Hangar 12 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington and vocals with Matt Roach at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver, British Columbia. The rest of the tracking was handled by the guitar duo of Houston and Steinway, who eventually put the finishing touches on the album this past December. “It was a long grueling process but it was well worth it because now we have the best sounding SKELATOR record to date,” says Conde-Houston.
Thematically, Conde-Houston says SKELATOR had one rule: No songs about swords, unless they are laser swords. “We touch on movies and comics that have inspired us since we were kids in the ‘80s. Songs like ‘Akira’, ‘Highlander’ and ‘Seven Scars’ are all obvious nerd-out lyrics based on decades of watching the same movies over and over. But the songs are still anthems and we still have at least one track about playing true metal.”
Now past the 20-year mark as a band, “Cyber Metal” finds SKELATOR at the top of their game with the same drive and passion as when they started. “The hard part about keeping a band together for 20 years is the fact that we are all getting older and have more and more responsibilities,” concludes Conde-Houston. “But the beauty of having this band for so long is that we have a great legacy of albums to share with the world, and we all enjoy what we do and have the drive to keep doing it. As hard as it was to create this new album, it is a joy to listen to. This is our most ambitious record and the catchiest as well. I think it will please SKELATOR fans new and old. Even if you are a ‘Give Me Metal Or Give Me Death’, purest you’ll be still be singing along to tracks like ‘Cast Iron’ or ‘Cyber Samurai’.”
“Cyber Metal” track listing:
- Cyber Samurai
- Cast Iron
- The Hammer
- Seven Scars
- Psychic Silver Wheels