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Music / Skinless

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Ruthless instrumentation provided by (from left): Bob Beaulac, Joe Keyser, Noah Carpenter, Sherwood Webber, Dave Matthews

"Sit back, slip on your absorbent undergarments, and let the mayhem begin."

Skinless are an American Brutal Death Metal band, known for their cynical take of comedy, generally with Death Metal as a whole being the center of said grim comedy.

They disbanded in 2011, with Noah Carpenter saying that though he wanted to continue with the band, that there was "No fire left" to do so, and played their last show at the Maryland Deathfeast 2011. Then they went to do their own thing with other bands, such as Jason Keyser joining the highly acclaimed Origin

They reunited in 2013 with the lineup seen on Progression Towards Evil, with Dave Matthews (not that one, obviously) from Carpenter's former project Armor Column being drafted shortly after to make it a five-piece. Only the Ruthless Remain, their first post-reunion album, will drop on June 2, 2015. Touring will not occur, however; by their own admission, multiple members cannot tour, and shows in support of the album will be limited to festival appearances and one-offs.



  • Noah Carpenter - guitar (1992-2011, 2013-present)
  • Joe Keyser - bass (1997-2011, 2013-present)
  • Bob Beaulac - drums (1997–2002, 2003-2011, 2013-present)
  • Sherwood "Thunder Wheel" Webber IV - vocals, drums (1994-2004, 2010-2011, 2013-present)
  • Dave Matthews - guitar (2013-present)


  • Progression Towards Evil (1998)
  • Foreshadowing Our Demise (2001)
  • Miscreant (EP, 2002)
  • From Sacrifice to Survival (2003)
  • Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead (2006)
  • Only the Ruthless Remain (2015)
  • Savagery (2018)


This band exhibits examples of the following tropes:

  • Affectionate Parody: Their early work is this for Death Metal lyrics in general, while the lyrics are by no means child-friendly, they certainly are darkly amusing.
  • Banned from Argo: Sherwood Webber received a lifetime ban from the Palladium in Worcester, MA in 2002 after he stagedived onto several police officers and paramedics who were tending to an injured fan, then proceeded to insult the police officers once he was back onstage. The band was allowed back once Jason Keyser took his place, but with Webber's post-reunion return, they are banned from the venue once again.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In the music video for "Skull Session", Hippie Jim is depicted as dinging pretty much every stereotype on the New-Age Retro Hippie checklist...until the band completely destroys his life with their endless rehearsals. He then reveals that he's also a frontline Vietnam veteran who embraced the counterculture later on, and that he still has a stash of "goodies" from his service, including a canister of Agent Orange and several grenades. He uses a selection of implements from his stash to incapacitate and capture the band, then builds a guillotine to dispose of them for good. Well, almost...
  • Black Comedy: Rather prevalent in their older material. See Darker and Edgier below for more information.
  • Brutal Death Metal
  • Careful with That Axe: Both Sherwood and Jason have shown themselves to be capable of some utterly inhuman shrieks.
  • Country Matters: "Cuntaminated".
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The music video for "Skinless", which features the Hudson Skinner torturing an unfortunate man with the help of the band.
  • Cover Version: Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead ends with a cover of Black Sabbath's "Wicked World", while Savagery includes a cover of "High Rate Extinction".
  • Credits Gag: Only The Ruthless Remain. Keyser and Beaulac's work on the album is repeatedly referred to as "Rhythmic [insert reference to song lyrics here]", Webber's lyrical contributions (and those of Carpenter on the lyrics he co-wrote) likewise reference the song lyrics or themes (e.g. "Last Words" for "Funeral Curse"), production work is credited to "Forces Of Evil Far Beyond Your Control", and in lieu of a thank you message to family, friends, other metal bands and the fans (a common staple of album credits even in death metal) is a Lampshade Hanging of the absence of such:
    We Offer No Gratitude. Nor Forgiveness. Only The Ruthless Remain.
  • Darker and Edgier: From Sacrifice to Survival, which cut out the toilet humor and black comedy elements.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: They haven't made a definitive statement as to which side of the fence they're on, but they did note with some detectible delight that most of the people who decided to illegally download Only the Ruthless Remain were actually getting From Sacrifice to Survival with the new song titles. They did not indicate whether they deliberately planted them or not.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Progression Towards Evil is almost exclusively focused on Toilet Humor and Gorn. Foreshadowing Our Demise has a few tracks of that type, but leans more on the Humans Are Bastards and/or political themes that make up the bulk of their subsequent albums.
  • Enfante Terrible: "Tug Of War Intestines" is about a car crash victim who gets shredded by two kids who then play schoolyard games with his guts. Spectacularly, they do this in a hospital. The real kicker is that the victim is their grandfather.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: "Crispy Kids".
  • I Am the Band: Noah Carpenter
  • Intentionally Awkward Title:
    • Check the track listings for Progression. They're everywhere. Although the crowner is probably "Tampon Lollipops".
    • A few examples show up on Foreshadowing Our Demise, too, like "Pool of Stool" and "Tug of War Intestines".
  • Ironic Name:
    • "Merrie Melody", in which the usual power dynamic of your favorite Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry shorts are flipped to Gornerrific effect.
    • "The Optimist" also counts, since it's about the death of civilized society, and the Title Drop manifests as "Kill The Optimist!". See also the sample:
    Vince McMahon: Life SUCKS...and then you die!
  • Karma Houdini: At the end of the video for "Skinless", the real Hudson Skinner escapes capture or even exposure, with Noah, Dave, Joe and Bob all being arrested in his place while Sherwood narrowly escapes capture (due to being in Colorado instead of New York)note  but has to go underground. (to be fair, the band were acting as accomplices to the Skinner in the video)
  • Kill It with Fire: "Flamethrower".
  • Loudness War: As with most modern death metal, their whole discography is pretty heavily brickwalled. Trample The Weak, Hurdle The Dead is noticeably more clipped than the others, though.
  • Mascot:
    • During their original run they had the Skinless Girl, who would come out at shows covered in fake blood and get jostled around by the band and the audience.
    • They seem to be using album-specific ones post-reunion: The Hudson Skinner, the deranged Serial Killer from the "Skinless" video (which is very NSFW, and loaded to the brim with Nausea and Nightmare Fuel), served this role for Only The Ruthless Remain, while Hippie Jim from the "Skull Session" video took the spot for Savagery.
  • Metal Scream: Type 2 as the foundation, with generous doses of Type 3 as both backing and on their own.
  • Misanthrope Supreme
  • New Sound Album: Pre-release, the band indicated that Only The Ruthless Remain would be this. To quote Noah Carpenter:
    Basically we're going to put the Progression, Foreshadowing and Trample albums into a blender, add some guitar solos and serve up the heaviest Skinless release yet.
    • On the finished product, the solos are in fact present, samples are cut out, and the album slightly plays up the slam breaks and mid-paced rhythmic sections versus their earlier work.
  • Off with His Head!: In the "Skull Session" video, Hippie Jim's solution to the band ruining his life via overloud rehearsals is to construct a guillotine, incapacitate the band, load them in one at a time and pull the switch. This does nothing to stop their headless bodies from reanimating and continuing the rehearsal, which leads Hippie Jim to load himself into the guillotine and pull the trigger one last time.
  • Part-Time Hero: The band elected to become this after re-forming, both because a number of them were tied down by outside commitments as well as looking to avoid the burnout that led to their breakup.
  • Road Apples: The protagonist of "Pool of Stool" ends up floating in a city sewer plant and is thus surrounded by these.
  • Sampling: The majority of their songs open with these, although they're absent on From Sacrifice to Survival and Only The Ruthless Remain.
    • Some of them even have more than one. "Pool of Stool" has three.
  • Shout-Out: "Merrie Melody" takes its name from a sub-brand of the Looney Tunes line which took the characters and put them in what amounted to animated music videos.
  • Sibling Team: During Jason's tenure.
  • Start My Own: Noah started the thrash/power metal band Armor Column after Skinless dissolved. Skinless reforming meant that Armor Column had to call it quits for a while before they resurfaced in 2018.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Emerged on a few tracks on Savagery, with Noah providing a higher, throatier shout on several passages in between Sherwood's growls and shrieks.
  • Voice of the Legion: Frequently. Usually manifests as simultaneous death growls and Black Metal-esque screams.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Again, "Crispy Kids".
    • Also, "Bobbing For Heads".
    • If one considers an unborn fetus to be a "child", then "Fetus Goulash" counts, too.