Skull Pit are a two-man project formed last year by Exumer vocalist Mem Von Stein and Tatsu Mikami from Church Of Misery; at the end of the year, they released their self-titled debut record. Skull Pit throws back to older styles but digs up the bones of the more punk driven acts instead of trying to fit the typical traditional metal outfit. Rather honing in on falsettos and powerful solos, it’s more comparable to bands like Venom, Motörhead, or Paul Di’anno-era Iron Maiden.
With such a punk attitude comes a focus on coarse and crunchy riffs that have an aggressive punch to them, meaning intricacy and complexity isn’t a prominent feature. They waste no time utilizing driving speed metal riffs, which you can hear immediately on opener “Double Cross.” Then there are songs like “Fire Breather” that bring on pounding basslines and a far harder beat, ringing in a lot of melody as well while slowing down just a notch in tempo.
Complimentary vocal styles roughen this up even more with a very deep and grunt-like delivery, maintaining a decent sense of rhythm. It’s the perfect combo, and their ability to make it unique and create an identity of their own is what makes Skull Pit stand out to me so much. Integrating more major scales with the harsh overlay isn’t something that many bands can pull off. Naturally, bluesier licks bleed into the formula which somewhat get buried under the gritty nature of the guitars, but they fit very well as backing features.
Not too many bands can pull off such a particular sound without sounding like a rip-off, or just being flat out generic. The blasts of fun that help the songs stand apart even more are just the icing on the cake. There isn’t a lot of depth regarding musicality, but there is plenty of depth regarding the pummeling nature of the riffs and the delivery itself. Perfect music for a dingy bar and cold beers.