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While not exactly the plodding, ponderous, arcane masterpiece that the debut was, Skullview's 2001 effort is definitely pretty enjoyable stuff. Taking the sophomore album and adding a few touches from the debut, Consequences of Failure works more often than not, although it's far from the most consistent album out there. Quimby Lewis, vocalist since the debut, is beginning to sound a bit worn out and lifeless, and his performance, especially on certain songs, gets pretty grating after a few listens. While he's definitely not terrible, the vocal lines and riffs aren't always strong enough here to support the crazed, extremely rough vocal lines we came to know and love on the debut. So while his performance may not be directly to blame, it's definitely the thing that stands out the most, especially on the worse songs, even if the primary problem is the songwriting, not his performance.
The production here is, thankfully, better than that on the previous album, though not quite as awesome as the debut's. The guitar tone is strong but not exceptional, and everything falls pretty well into the mix; while it's not amazing, there definitely isn't anything to complain about. The best songs here are the ones that manage to be catchy and powerful without overstaying their welcome; a good example of this would be "Time For Violence" which is fun and headbangable, with enough going on not to become boring, and riffs that do more than merely meander aimlessly, as is the case with some of the tracks. The songs are pretty much all in the same vein, some just achieve their goals better than others. "Palace of the Boundless Cold" and "Wrath of the Sorcerer" are probably the worst songs here, with simple, banal riffs that do nothing to support the strange and unhinged Lewis; it's as if an opera singer was stuck into some butt rock band; it just doesn't work.
"Seek the Old Man for Knowledge" is another cool track, long but not unwieldy, packing a nice set of riffs along with vocal lines, and a pretty badass solo in the middle. "The Archmage" is a damn cool interlude, showing a slightly different side of Skullview that still manages to work, however brief. Thankfully brief, I might add, given how bad Skullview proved to be at ballads on Kings of the Universe. "Leviticus" is something of a throwback to the debut, and although not as great, is still pretty cool stuff, while "Skullview" and "Armed With an Axe" are decent though not quite good exactly, riding the fence between banal bulllshit and awesome arcana; they're all right to be listened to once in awhile, but they get old pretty fast.
"Gleam of the Skull (Part III)" is good but a bit disappointing, as it features what is probably Lewis's worst performance on the album; he really sounds tired and lifeless here most of all, riffs completely aside. It definitely doesn't match the first part of the song, but it's slightly better than the second, and a pretty good representation of the album; good but not great, and a little disappointing because it feels just a bit too tired. Skullview here have the sound of a band who probably shouldn't have tried to be so consistently ambitious; it worked wonderfully on the first album, but from there it's a downhill journey, as nothing they've written can seemingly ever compare to it, and yet all their listeners will more than like make the comparison, and never come up satisfied. Still, as I've said, CoF is definitely a worthwhile album, just not as worthwhile as I'd like it to be. That cover art is pretty damn cool, at least.
Well, I have to say that this album was the first chance I got to hear Skullview and it doesn't dissapoint. I actually received this from Dean at the first Classic Eighties Metalfest back in 2001 right after they found out that they weren't going to be able to play that night. Needless to say, after all I had heard about them and how much I was looking forward to seeing them play live, I was pissed. On the other hand, I was happy to have received this CD from Dean himself and was even happier that I had their new album in my hands that I could blast in my car on my way home from the show.
Since the first time I heard this, I've caught up on all of Skullview's material and I have to say that Consequences of Failure is indeed my favorite. There isn't one dull moment on this great album. The opening track 'Time For Violence' is a fast and furious piece of metal. "Earthquake" Quimby's vocals throughout the song are ear-piercing to say the least. The next track 'Skullview (Warrior)' is my personal favorite on the album. The energy and galloping riffs on this track are tremendous. There are even a few songs on here that would be considered epic in nature. The next song 'Palace Of The Boundless Cold' and 'Seek The Old Man For Knowledge' are perfect examples of this. On these tracks, Skullview are able to back off a bit and pull you in with some great storylines and fantasy-inspired guitar leads. The last track is a great cover of 'Digital Bitch' off of Black Sabbath's classic 1983 album 'Born Again'.
There isn't really alot to say here other than this is a great American Power Metal classic. Every song they have written has became an instant favorite of mine. Unfortunately, since the release of this album, vocalist "Earthquake" Quimby, is no longer with the group. New vocalist Eric Flowers does however show alot of promise with the band and I'm eagerly looking forward to hearing their next full length. Call them Heavy Metal, Classic Metal, Power Metal, True Metal or whatever else you want. One thing is for sure, fans of classic metal sounding bands such as Judas Priest, Saxon, Exciter or Accept should pick this up as soon as possible and experience one of America's greatest (and often overlooked) pure metal bands!