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Bootleg Live at Valentine's, Albany NY 6/13/99 - * * * *

"I feel like Puff Daddy". Maverick Moonminer, editor in cheif of Fitshaced magazine once told me this in an e mail. He was discussing the fact that since he started doing record reviews in his zine, everyone is sending him free shit to review. Well, now I now what he was talking about. While I can't say I feel like Puff Daddy yet, thereís been a flood of free tapes and CDs since I started this homepage a year ago. I just got a free demo CD from Warfare records with a bunch of info, I will be getting some shit from 1000 Yard Stare soon, and the bootlegs have been falling like rain from tape traders. I came across a live Skinless recording among these bootlegs. Since I was never a huge Skinless fan before (see Lord of The Pit ), I decided to listen to the tape and see what the fuck the deal was with this band. I've been the witness to two Skinless shows. One was opening for Earth Crisis at a moment's notice in place of One King Down. The other was at a community college in Glens Falls with 3 hippie jam bands and a music teacher sharing the bill. The problem with these shows was that Skinless was not in their natural element among straightedge kids and college hippies. Subsequently they sucked on both occasions.

This bootleg tape captures Skinless in their element on a good night, and holy fuck what a difference it makes. Since no one reading this will have any chance of finding this tape, all you lazy fucks can click on the link below and order their full length, Progression Towards Evil. . Skinless is shown here in their natural environment having a good time, drinking beer, smoking pot, and fucking destroying an Albany nightclub. They start off with Foreshadowing Our Demise which features brutal sludgy riffs alternated with harsh breakdowns and intense rhythm on the vocals. Sherwood Webberís vocals actually bring up memories of Burning Human during this song. Drums are crucial to the proper execution of their sound, and the drumming in Skinless has improved a lot over the years. It's full on precision tight and brutal backing beats. Homeboy is also in Disciples Of Berkowitz for anyone who cares.

The vocals are straight up fucking evil. The trade off screams on Tug Of War Intestines are timed perfectly to the music. Another nice touch is how Webber growls the titles to the songs before playing them. Itís fucking hilarious to hear how death metal vocals actually sound without music. Skinless is not above self-parody when it's mixed with just the right amount of actual brutality. Just take a look at their song titles to illustrate this point, they are like the death metal version of GWAR. They actually turn this show into one giant party. In between songs, Skinless gives out CDs and T-shirts to whoever can get them drinks from the bar and to women who take their shirts off. "Skinless is all about tits". And beer apparently too. All of which explains why Skinless had a hard time opening for straight edge icons Earth Crisis and playing to the PC hippie college crowd. From the sounds of it, the audience reaction this night was a lot better. Skinless do their job well. If the full on sonic assault thrash groove of Bobbing For Heads doesn't make you move then you may as well be fucking dead. Same with Milk & Innards in which Webber trades off evil guttural roars with hoarse growls and A.C. style screaming. All the while he is giving the audience pointers on how to mosh ("Circle pit now!") like some kind of satanic dance instructor. They play a couple of new songs too. Then Sherwood asks for some pot from the audience and they proceed to play two encores, one of which Tampon Lollipops is without a doubt the best fucking song Skinless ever wrote. All in all this tape was nothing short of 45 minutes of pure brutality from those evil motherfuckers in Skinless. Iím not afraid to admit mistakes. Donít judge a band by a couple bad shows. Instead start a homepage and get some free shit to review. And go fucking see this band perform live.

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Reviewed: March, 2000

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