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Pretty Boring - 59%

balder, December 21st, 2006

Pile of Skulls is nowhere near as good as people think it is. All it is boring heavy metal with pretty much nothing that hasn't been done before, and the comparison to Painkiller or other speed metal classics is pretty unwarranted. The guitarwork is generally slower and less interesting, and the vocals sound nothing like Halford.

The album starts off with a decent intro called "Chamber of Lies," but it suffers from the same problem as all the other songs: There is not much on the whole CD that's more than mildly interesting, and the only thing that sticks in my mind are the catchy but ultimately mediocre choruses. Pretty much all the songs follow the same predictable pattern of verse-chorus tripe. I wouldn't care too much about the structure, except that none of the riffs are more than average, and they all get overused halfway through the song. Add to that the fact that they often follow Kasparek's boring raspy no-range vocals a bit too much, and you've got yourself a pretty half-assed album.

There are a few songs that are actually OK. "Whirlwind" and the title track are worth the occasional listen, but the only thing that brings them up are that they aren't as plodding as the rest. "Jenning's Revenge" is easily the best track, with an upbeat tempo and a chorus that's actually allright and not just catchy.The epic "Treasure Island" rivals "Jenning's Revenge" for best song. It's got what the others lack -- interesting songwriting, good riffs and decent solos. Even at eleven plus minutes it's more interesting than the rest.

If Running Wild had done this for the rest of the songs, the album could have been pretty good, but instead they ended up with something that's half allright and half filler. The CD is pretty catchy, but without the music to back it up, you'll wish the choruses weren't stuck in your head.