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A Major Step Down - 45%

pinpals, August 28th, 2007

After releasing one of the most monumental metal albums of the 80's, Trouble eased up a little for their sophmore effort, "The Skull." While their debut was an astounding mix of Black Sabbathian doom, with the twin guitars of Judas Priest, this album is more straightforward 80's metal. The guitars are not as heavy. The songs don't switch from slow to fast, they stay at about the same speed throughout. None of these songs come near the almost-thrash of songs like "The Deceiver." Nothing at all on this album seems like an improvement over their debut.

And that may be the biggest problem here. The intensity is toned down, the riffs aren't as striking, and the songs themselves just aren't as memorable. Trouble just seem like they're going through the motions, none of the songs (excluding the title track) measure up to their previous counterparts. I give them credit for writing an epic, "The Wish," but it's still a rather tedious listen. Don't get me wrong, none of the songs on here are outright bad, they're just not as good, and in most cases, boring.

The one exception to everything mentioned above is the album closing title track. It starts out with acoustic guitars and creates an incredibly doomy atmosphere, even with the Christian lyrics. The song builds up until the inevitable, but still satisfying heavy crescendo at the end. Damn, that riff is good. And I don't care if you follow Satan, Buddha, or Asatru, you WILL be yelling "Christ have mercy!!" at the end.

So while this album is not a complete waste, it certainly is not worth the full price. This is not really anything different from anything that other bands were putting out at the same time, and they were doing it better. The title track should be required listening for all metalheads, but the rest of the album is far from essential.