March 27, 2024

Place of Skulls - The Black Is Never Far (2006)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Doom Metal
Label Number: EOM 021

© 2006 Exile On Mainstream Records
For a while there, it didn't look like Place of Skulls would ever release a third album, having announced their breakup following an exciting but not surprisingly doomed-to-be-brief ("doom," get it?) association with journeyman Scott "Wino" Weinrich (Saint Vitus, the Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, etc.) on their stellar sophomore album, With Vision. Not one to play second fiddle to anyone, Wino was soon moving on to found new band the Hidden Hand, leaving Place of Skulls founder and former Pentagram guitarist Victor Griffin to initially pack it in before deciding to simply reassume the role of single frontman role for 2006's The Black Is Never Far. And, not surprisingly, the '80s-flavored doom and heavy metal emanating from these tracks proves as solid yet unremarkable as that of Place of Skulls' debut. It's true: Griffin's always distinctive guitar work alternates megalithic riffs with evocatively melancholy melodies on standouts "Sense of Divinity," "Apart from Me," and "Lookin' for a Reason"; but his indifferent talents as a vocalist (while former partner Wino's voice is technically lousy, but loaded with personality) inevitably consign the bulk of the remaining tracks to oblivion in an already crowded doom scene. As such, The Black Is Never Far isn't recommended for first-time Place of Skulls listeners, but may appease longtime Griffin and doom devotees with its occasional bright spots.

 tags: place of skulls, the black is never far, 2006, flac,


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