The Skull
The Endless Road Turns Dark
Tee Pee Records
★★★

With the title track at the forefront of this album, The Skull’s intro notes are monstrous. It’s an immediate impression that the album begins with such ferocity in sound, it’s all you can think about. The sophomore album continues the approach of cellar floor psyche rock where The Endless Road Turns Dark is a glowing ember of doom rock.

Vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner, formerly of metal band Trouble, turn their sound into godlike fists of vengeance, making sure you feel every blow. Adding longtime Cathedral drummer Brian Dixon, guitarist Lothar Keller (Sacred Dawn) and guitarist Rob Wrong (Witch Mountain), the band rounds out an amazing potential of metal spectacle.

The Skull – The Endless Road Turns Dark

Where the title track shines is in the song’s meandering. After Wagner follows a Sabbathian formula of broody prose, the band drifts off into an alternate reality that becomes an entity of itself. As a portion of the album cannot get away from the gravitational pull between Sabbath and Alice In Chains, there are moments that stand out. That guitar solo in “The Longing” is weighty.

“From Myself Depart” is the first moment I feel The Skull are themselves in every way. A psyche-blues rock ballad that creates hip thruster ammo into the ethos. This is what The Skull should be doing all the time. Followed by “As The Sun Draws Near” The Endless Road Turns Dark finally is in full swing. The song is a dizzying power play between song construction and a drug-inducing hypnotic interlude. What is interesting is that it plays into traditional construction of metal song hierarchy — guitar solo one, followed by guitar solo two, followed by dual guitar melody. Maybe because I was not expecting it, it works to glorious effect. Even more embedded balladry is “All That Remains (Is True).” In The Skulls’ world, doom metal and ballads are not far between. You can count on both to be soul crushing.

The farther away from their inspirations the better when it comes to this album, and in this case, this album is a well-documented case of both that will grab your attention.

Categories: Reviews

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