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Num Skull - Ritually Abused (Reissue)

Num Skull
Ritually Abused (Reissue)
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 10 October 2014, 11:29 PM

NUM SKULL is a mid-1980’s Death/Thrash act from Illinois.  This is a re-issue of their first full-length album, released in 1988, and contains twelve tracks.  Following a spooky/scary brief opener, the title track, “Ritually Abused,” leads off the assault.  Bone shattering riffs and a flurry of double bass and notes picked at impossible speeds are the formula presented here.  Vocally we hear that early Death sound.  They do a nice job of altering riffs and meter to keep you on your toes, and Tom Brander reminds you of how a furious and soaring guitar solo couples so well with this kind of music.  Other highlights on the album include the scary feeling imparted among the havoc in the song “Death and Innocence,” and the galloping, authoritative riff of “Friday’s Child.”  Their intensity is really unmatched here, and you believe in what they are telling you.

When you listen to “Off with your Head”, you actually feel the instruments supporting this notion.  The riffs are spirited and oppressive, and the message can’t be missed or mistaken.  The vocal performance in “The Henchman” is also very strong, going from emphatic screaming to more hushed, evil sounding, whispered parts.  The initial relentless energy in “Turn of the Screw” settle quickly into a dastardly riff, while unadulterated speed is used in passages here and there.  Throughout the track, there is a feeling of an army marching into Hell.  “Rigor Mortis” is another superfast and heavy track, chocked full of commanding riffs and confidence.  This album fits in nicely in the scene at the time, though it might be one that was largely missed by fans in this genre.  The musicianship is tight, as is their mission to be as fast, technical and brutal as any band at the time.  As was often the case with early Death bands, the sound is more towards the Thrash/Speed side of the genre, with only the early Death style vocals distinguishing it from a straight Thrash band.  Though there isn’t a lot of variegate from track to track, it is a strong collection of aggressive, powerful music.

4 Star Rating

1. The End
2. Ritually Abused
3. Death and Innocence
4. No Morals
5. Friday’s Child
6. Off with your Head
7. The Henchman
8. Pirate’s Night
9. Turn of the Screw
10. Kiss Me, Kill Me
11. Rigor Mortis
12. Murder by the Minister
Skip McGullam – Vocals
Tom Brander – Guitars
Eric Seiller – Gutars
Rob Charrier – Bass
Jeff McGullam – Drums
Record Label: Relapse Records


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Edited 27 November 2022

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