.Skeletal Remains at Arlene Francis Center, March 7

Since forming in Southern California some 13 years ago, Whittier’s Skeletal Remains have produced some of the most forward-thinking death metal. With a discography that includes a handful of singles, one split, one compilation, and four full-lengths, this is one group that hasn’t sat idle waiting for things to happen.

At a time when most bands were sidelined by canceled Covid-related tours, the band used the downtime to their advantage, as well as time on the road in 2022 to hone their chops. The end result is the band’s fifth album and nine-track opus, the long-awaited ‘Fragments of the Ageless.’ As luck would have it, the new album will be available one day before its March 8 release date on Century Media Records at their sole Sonoma County show.

The band currently features sole founding member/guitarist/vocalist Chris Monroy, guitarist Mike De La O, drummer Pierce Williams (drums), and bassist Brian Rush. Said Monroy about the band’s work ethic and trademark sound, “With every record, we try to push ourselves to make a better record. We don’t get into, ‘We need to sound more like this or that.’ As death metal fans, we write what we enjoy and want to listen to.”

Fans of latter-day Cannibal Corpse, Hate Eternal, Sinister (from Holland), and Morbid Angel will be floored by standout tracks such as “Relentless Appetite,” “To Conquer the Devout,” and “Verminous Embodiment.” With breakneck speed double-bass, wonderfully sequenced lead guitar lines, and some of the most ferocious arrangements, it’s songs like “Unmerciful” with its myriad sections that separate Skeletal Remains from the rest of the stale death metal diaspora. Mixed and mastered by incomparable Swedish sensation Dan Swanö (Diablolical Masquerade, Asphyx, Incantation), the ends certainly justify the means.

For those fans lucky enough to catch them on a full-fledged US tour with Suffocation and Incantation last year, this local show is one of the few chances to see Skeletal Remains before they head overseas to play the Wacken (Germany) and Alcatraz (Belgium) festivals. There are only four scheduled shows celebrating the new record, including Santa Rosa, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

We caught up with Sonoma County’s own Brandon McCubbin aka Bitter End Booking who has been flying the flag for underground metal with great effect.

Bohemian: When did Bitter End Booking start?

Brandon McCubbin: I have been booking shows since 2015. However, I didn’t start doing it under the name Bitter End Booking until 2019. I took the name from the song “Bitter End” by my band Water Into Blood whom I write songs and play guitar in.

Brandon McCubbin’s Bitter End Booking has been promoting shows for nearly a decade.

Bohemian: How many shows have you done so far?

McCubbin: I have done about 100 shows to date.

Bohemian: Do you feel like Santa Rosa is becoming a major market for metal acts?

McCubbin:  Santa Rosa is most definitely becoming a market for major acts. We’ve had bigger bands come through over the last 10 years but it started to die down a little bit before Covid hit. After Covid there wasn’t anyone bringing big bands anymore and I saw that as my window of opportunity to expand what had already been done here. Now, I am getting tours from agents all over the world.

Bohemian: Are you going to be doing more Neck Of The Woods shows or other Bay Area shows aside from Arlene Francis?

McCubbin: Yes, I am. I have already booked Bottom Of The Hill in SF along with Neck Of The Woods. I have a show at Brick And Mortar in May and a show in Morro Bay in July. I will continue to book in SF in the future but Santa Rosa is my home base. 

Bohemian: What is the hardest part about promoting underground metal shows?

McCubbin: One of the hardest things about booking is avoiding booking shows on the same night as a similar event in the same area. When this happens, it splits the draw between both shows and both shows will have a smaller crowd than they could have had. To avoid this, I am always paying attention to other shows happening and regularly communicating with other bands/promoters.

Bitter End Booking presents Skeletal Remains with Morta Skuld (performing songs from their 1993 release, ‘Dying Remains’), Oxygen Destroyer, and Laceration at 7 pm, March 7 at The Arlene Francis Center located at 99 6th St., Santa Rosa. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the door or www.eventbrite.com. All ages are welcome.


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