The Skull, which derives its name from Trouble’s second album, have released their own sophomore record “The Endless Road turns Dark” on 7th September, 2018; under the record label of Tee Pee Records. Hailing from Illinois USA, Trouble was considered as the pioneers of Doom Metal alongside bands like Candlemass and Saint Vitus. The Skull spun off from Trouble in early 2012 with its three former members Ron Holzner , Jeff “Oly” Olson and Eric Wagner and saw a lot of line-up changes before releasing their first album, “For those which are Asleep”.
With this record, The Skull creates a classic Sabbathian doom with a psych-tinged metal vision which benefits greatly from the pedigree and experience of the band’s members and pushes authentic, old-school metal to heavier and more foreboding places, fuelled by burly riffing, metallic groove and a crushing punch. Ethereal and wonderfully moody with a heart of heavy metal beating at its centre, the record delivers definitive doom metal full of powerful builds and mesmerizing dynamic range.
The album opens up with “The Endless road turns dark” which pulverizes and pounds upon you with a meaty and tuned down riff bringing out doom elements right from the beginning. The song runs down a good 7 minute keeping up its momentum with high pitched vocal delivery and a crunchy guitar solo to its credit. “Ravenswood” and “As the sun draws near” builds on a chunky and fast riff, giving new dimension to the album and as the guitar duo pelt out slick guitar solos one after the other, one gets a good grip and a hang of their sound.
“Breathing Underwater” brings about a dark atmospheric dimension to their sound which accentuates well an equally memorable guitar riff; the bassline and the vocals are so well married to the song, that it makes it one of my favourite of the album. The chorus takes a stride and will make you sing alongside. “The Longing” starts off with a riveting guitar solo that delves into incredible song arrangement, which is very unique as it gives complexity and a new outlook to the album; what’s not to miss is the guitar duelling towards the end with Wagner screaming “I’m not alone” in the background.
“From Myself Depart” runs right on with a finger picked bass riff adding some chimes and wah-ing guitars building up this song before it gets on to a traditional heavy chorus. What’s amazing up till now has been how The Skull has always improvised and bringing about newer styles with every song keeping its listeners hooked and entertained. “All that remains (is true)” takes on a melodic stride right from the outset, the tune for this song will remain in your head for long, as it’s crafted to perfection and somehow feels like a lot of emotion has gone into its making.
The stupendous album concludes with “They will be done” which has really long and well-crafted riff which will definitely get you grooving, and I love it how it eventually progresses and delves into the Doom realm. During the closure of the song we hear a juggling in pace bringing about some tremendous song arrangements which leaves you hungry for more.
Production – The song compositions are remarkable, and are produced with all the tones in place, and all the instruments getting their fair share in the limelight.
Conclusion – The song writing has hit a peak. Listening to this album gave me immense joy musically, the innovation that has gone into making this album is an auditory treat. I recommend you give this mammoth work of art a spin.
Written by: Ankit Sood
01. The Endless Road Turns Dark
03. Breathing Underwater
04. The Longing
05. From Myself Depart
06. As the Sun Draws Near
07. All That Remains (Is True)
08. Thy Will Be Done
Eric Wagner – vocals
Lothar Keller – guitar
Ron Holzner – bass
Rob Wrong – guitar
Brian Dixon – drums
Record Label: Tee Pee Records
Release Date: Sept. 7th. 2018
2014: “For Those Which Are Asleep” (review)
2018: “The Endless Road Turns Dark”
Lyric video for ‘Ravenswood’
Video for ‘The Endless Road Turns Dark’