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Metal Life Album Review: THE SKULL – For Those Which Are Asleep

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Doom metal bands have been making me extremely proud over the past five years or so. Particularly, ensembles like Orchid and Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats have driven the genre towards incredibly engaging material that adds lively grooves to the traditional abysmal distortion adored by all doom metal lovers. The Skull is my newest addition to the small but mighty “most engaging doom bands of the decade” seen above, as they wrap up 2014 with the memorable release of For Those Which Are Asleep. If you know Eric Wagner and Jeff “Oly” Olson from their days in Trouble, you probably already have sky-high expectations for this album. Whether you participate heavily in the doom metal world or not, prepare to have your minds blown.

First impressions are always the strongest, and “Trapped Inside My Mind” is one of the strongest openings to any album I have heard this year. Eric Wagner’s voice ages more gracefully than a fine bottle of wine; he opens the album with a grand vocal fusion reminiscent of the pained inflections of Ozzy Osbourne and the soulful range of Myles Kennedy. The snappy grooves of “Till The Sun Turns Black” and the dark intricate solos of “The Touch of Reality” all demonstrate the group’s veteran expertise. Loather Keller (Sacred Dawn) and Matt Goldsborough (Pentagram) create some of the catchiest riffs in doom metal since Uncle Acids “Bloodlust.”

“Sick of It All” intro…goes from the lowest range possible to an ethereal verse ala Solitude Aeturnus, so does “The Door” for its meditative aura. The middle of albums isn’t usually the place to go looking for the most memorable songs, but The Skull accepted this challenge and succeeded.

Snappy grooves of “till the sun turns black”

With a renovation of Trouble’s “The Last Judgment” proving to be a captivating grand finale, I would make some room on your Top 10 Albums of the Year list for this one.

Rating: 4.5/5

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