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Skullview let themselves go - 75%

Jophelerx, February 2nd, 2013
Written based on this version: 2001, CD, R.I.P. Records

While Skullview managed to release two highly quality albums in 1998 and 1999, their third album is where they hit their slump. Consequences of Failure is in the same basic style as Legends of Valor and Kings of the Universe, but the songwriting is markedly less ambitious and more sloppy. There are hooks, but the songs don't flow very well and the riffs aren't terribly powerful. Quimby is still good, but there are just too many problems here to make this album terribly enjoyable.

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.