Bart M. : Even though doom pioneers Trouble never officially doused the flame, a new band arose in 2012, called The Skull and consisting of several members of the aforementioned band. The music they played on their debut album 'For Those Which Are Asleep' (2014) was therefore somewhat recognizable. Four years later their sophomore offering is here and it is named 'The Endless Road Turns Dark'. Another uplifting title.
The album starts off at a high level with the title track, a song that has every single component you would expect from a classic, good doom track. Compassionate, stretched out riffs and slow, heavy bass and drums that put down an epic melody before all hope is eclipsed by the distinctive, nasal and gray vocals of Eric Wagner. You cannot possibly ask for a better opening track. What follows are seven more songs that are all drenched in tradition and infused occasionally with some stoner influences. At some points the music deviates from the trusted formula and although it never sounds bad it does strike me as a bit under par. The up-side is that none of the songs ever sound the same. At least not coincidentally, because certain riffs and words are repeated in different songs, making all the pieces fit together after a couple of spins, to form a smooth, tight entity.
My personal climax is 'From Myself Depart'. The title alone gives me the chills! Through recognizable but fresh melodies the band puts down an atmosphere that gives the feeling as though an utterly black cloud is hovering above you and a big, black hand descends from it to slowly push you, without you having any chance to escape, into the dark earth, where you are left alone and unmoving. Wagner's voice sounds defeated and resigned in his lonely fate. This really is one of doom's greatest voices, and the rest of band also shows their experience by making it sound as if they easily put each of the songs together.
After a super-hot and mellow summer, The Skull hard-handedly pulls us down into reality with 'The Endless Road Turns Dark'. A beautiful way of heralding a hopefully very drowsy autumn. Including a European tour.