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Album of the year: 'The Black Is Never Far' courtesy of Place Of Skulls. Bold statement? You bet! Over-reaction? You be the judge.
Place of Skulls has been a musical ticking time bomb since it's initial release of 'Nails'. The pressure built a few millibars for their sophomore effort, 'With Vision.' Of course having Wino (The Obsessed, St. Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand) in the band didn't hurt any. Now be prepared for an apocalyptic explosion from their latest release.
The album unleashes with the crushing chug of 'Prisoner's Creed.' Great start off song. The sabbath inspired string work of 'Sense of Divinity' is down right ferocious in it's attack. 'Darkest Hour' shows a tinge of an alternative sound during the first minute and then it erupts into an avalanche of bass and melodic guitar playing. This is doom with a sense of salvation.
"If there's freedom out there
Then I believe no price to pay
In my darkest hour
Truth's light will shine the way"
This song is a new personal favorite of mine.
A song like 'The Black Is Never Far' brings out the best in Place Of Skulls. It incorporates shades of 70's rock and 80/90's anthem metal without sounding dated. This would definitely be "one of those cigarette lighter songs", if that act wasn't so damn Bon Jovi-ish.
Another track that can't be overlooked is 'Lookin' For A Reason.' Talk about originality, this number starts with a mellow, jazzy saxophone performance (by Chastity Brown) that segues into a mid-range doom romper, that floats above the ground like an evil mist. Impressive finger work by Victor on this one. Add Victor to your list of guitar gods.
A shining gem to this crown of ebony, is the reworked version of Pentagram's 1985 doom crusher 'Relentless.' Victor Griffin, Dennis Cornelius, and Tim Tomaselli work up a 'skull-a-fied', supercharged version of this classic tune. Doom is alive!
You now have no choice. Hunt down this new metal classic or live with the knowledge that your music collection will forever be incomplete.
[originally posted on www.myspace.com/nordicfire 10/20/06]