Skeletoon – Nemesis Review

I didn’t have a choice about this one. Regular readers will recall my central role in the Skelator Incident, so it should come as no surprise that Steel Druhm took one look at band called “Skeletoon” and their self-proclaimed “nerd metal” and immediately assigned it to me. He announced his excitement for me to review these goofy guys on one of our AMG Staff Zoom chats, and since it went so well last time he did that, I was more than a little apprehensive. “Their last album was a concept album about The Goonies,” Steel said in his authoritative Long Island accent — before joining the staff, I assumed he would sound like Darth Vader, but I was wrong. I could tell by the smirk on his face that he was relishing the opportunity to bestow upon me some seriously silly shit that was certain to suck, but alas — the joke is on him! He should have known better than to trust me with something like this…1

Hailing from Italy, Skeletoon tell grand tales of all sorts of nerdery through the medium of righteously over-the-top melodic Euro-power. Imagine Dragonforce making love to Gloryhammer while Rhapsody pulls a Jerry Falwell Jr. and watches intently from a chair in the corner of the room. Massive walls of double bass drum, saccharine hurricanes of melodious guitars, and overwrought, hyper-lactosed vocals carry the day on the band’s fourth full-length, Nemesis, and the results are in a word, glorious! “Il Tramanto Delle Ere” is an uplifting Italian-language (I assume?) European power metal anthem, and while it might not be the song I would have chosen for an advance track, its combination of a beautifully keyed intro and a slew of vocal histrionics make it a solid addition to a diverse power metal playlist.

And that diversity is where Skeletoon really shine. At 12 tracks and 58 minutes, Nemesis certainly had the potential to become a monotonous slog on the back half, but the fact that multiple well-executed styles of power metal are used throughout makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. After the obligatory short intro track, true opener “Brighter Than 1000 Suns” begins with a Blind Guardian power/speed salvo before settling into Dragonforce territory with Guitar Hero leads and vocals that soar so high they nearly enter space. “Nemesis” brings some muscle to the LAN party with some snarling groove metal chugging, “Cold the Night” slows things to a crawl for a ballad/sea shanty that had me swaying my imaginary lighter overhead, and “Arcana Opera” is over eight minutes long and boasts a subdued Turilli/Leone Rhapsody symphonic/electronica middle section that’s bookended by more of the Dragonforce speed. Each track here has its own personality, and that makes the hour fly by.

A modern Euro-power production adorns the modern Euro-power on Nemesis, and it’s a pleasure to listen to. Intricate kick drum rhythms clearly play out while Tran-Siberian Orchestra-style rock/metal solos glow in the heavens. Guitarists Andrea Cappellari and Davide “Lord Dave”2 Piletto are practicing physicians at the Mayo Guitar Clinic, and their leads demonstrate that while the band may not take themselves too seriously, their musical ability is no joking matter. Just check out the intro to closer “Carry On” for a quick demonstration of their skill. Singer Tomi Fooler may not quite have the end-range strength of some of the genre’s heavy hitters, but he’s certainly no slouch and puts in a heartfelt, journeyman performance with a warm tone that never ceases to put a smile on my face. Highlight tracks include “Brighter Than 1000 Suns,” “Will You Save All?,” “Nemesis,” “Cold the Night,” Arcana Opera,” and “Carry On.”

In your face, Steel! I like this! I like it a lot! With Nemesis, Skeletoon have joined the ranks of bands like Gloryhammer, Brothers of Metal, and Alestorm who successfully use humor to create genuinely great music. Without a lyric sheet, I can’t really comment on the quality of the “NerdMetal Superhero” storyline of the album, but I won’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone who needs a little power metal fun to cure their 2020 blues.

Steel intended to harm me, but Skeletoon intended it for good.” – Nemesis Chapter 50, Verse 203


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Scarlet Records
Websites: facebook.com/skeletoonband | www.skeletoonband.com
Releases Worldwide: September 25th, 2020

Show 3 footnotes

  1. In Steel‘s excitement to punish me with this album and in my excitement to love it, we somehow both missed the fact that Eldritch Elitist had actual review dibs for Skeletoon. Oops! Sorry, friend!
  2. Fucking rad moniker.
  3. I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for this meddling overrating bastard! – Steel
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