Sometimes it’s abundantly obvious when a musician has made music primarily for himself, to indulge a personal passion for a particular kind of already well-established music and to test how well he can embrace and extend such venerable and venerated traditions. In such circumstances innovation isn’t the objective. Faithful worship comes first. But when it works, a personal endeavor like that can also reward listeners.
In a nutshell, that’s what Portuguese musician Paulo Soares did on Skin ’em Alive, the debut album of his solo project Ruttenskalle, which was released last October by Gruesome Records. The object of his affection and energies was old-school Swedish death metal in the vein of Dismember, Entombed, Carnage, Grave, and Unleashed.
The depths of his devotion are revealed in the album’s ghastly cover art, in the Swedish name of the band (which means “rotten skull”), in the abundant lyrical references to guts, gore, and macabre deaths, and of course in the sound of the music itself. And yes indeed, for ardent fans of this venerable genre, it brings rewards — one of which is the song “Dead Man” that’s featured in the music video we’re premiering today.