Back in the day, Place of Skull’s album Nailed would have just filed under “heavy”. With now even sub-genres having labels, I suppose “doom” is a more appropriate tag — although “Sabbath-like” would probably suffice for most listeners. The band is often compared to Spirit Caravan and The Obsessed, so if that sounds like your bag-o-groove, you’re in the right place.
This three piece outfit headed by Victor Griffin (ex-Pentagram and Death Row) has put together one of the thickest sounding albums of the year. Even though the musical style sounds like it belongs in the 70’s, the production is very current and top notch — clear, clean, thick, and loud. The advantage of having a three piece is that, when properly mixed, each of the instruments have their own distinct range. That is evident here, as at most any given time each of the instruments can be heard seperately and independently of the others.
The guitars are fuzzy, bassy, and thick. The bass guitar does double duty, tying the drums and guitars together. The drums provide a rock steady backbeat, hold everything together nicely, and have a lot of little fills throughout to keep listeners interested. Nothing moves at a rabbit’s pace here — I’m more reminded of trying to run through a swimming pool. Slow, laborious, deliberate work.
Listeners should know whether or not they’ll like the album within the first 20 seconds or so, as the dirty opening riff of “The Fall” sets the pace for the entire album. Reminiscent of Corrosion of Conformity but slower, “The Fall” explores ideas about life and death: “(I long to understand/what the Creator has done for man/can our feeble minds comprehend?/we started to die when we began)”. The rest of the album covers equally deep ground. The album also contains a heavy cover of The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”.
Man’s Ruin Records was set to present this masterpiece to the world. Instead, they folded, and the band is now being distributed by Southern Lord. I don’t have much more to say other than if you like slowed down, fuzzed out rock, this is probably the best example I’ve heard of the genre to date. Place of Skulls are currently on tour with Spirit Caravan, a show not to be missed for fans of the genre.
01. The Fall
02. Never Die
04. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
05. Feeling Of Dread
07. Love She Gave
09. Song Of Soloman