"For Those Which Are Asleep"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Seems like doom fans have been waiting forever for this to come out. Well, here it is at last...and I don't think anyone will be disappointed. If you can imagine the perfect cross between Trouble's early super-doomy works and their later more "rock" oriented releases, this is it. And considering that the Skull features three members of Trouble, that is perfectly fine.

That the doom has returned is made abundantly clear with the first two songs, "Trapped Inside My Mind" and "The Touch of Reality". They both come lumbering in like rhinos made of concrete, with that wonderfully down-tuned and gloomy sound we heard on the very first Trouble record all those eons ago. And yes, the one and only Eric Wagner is here to relate tales of depression, doubt and disappointment as only he can. For those who think his other current project Blackfinger is too "soft", The Skull is a sure antidote. But there's more than just early Trouble worship on show here..."The Door" is melodic yet still doomy, with prominent piano and a guitar that's a bit more subtle. "Send Judas Down" and "A New Generation" have a more groovy and rocking sound, a bit more upbeat but still very thick and heavy sounding. The guitarists here are Matt Goldsborough who spent some time in Pentagram and Chicago veteran Lothar Keller who plays in Spillage and Sacred Dawn. Do they equal the power of original Trouble axe-slingers Wartell and Franklin? Well, they do as good as a job filling in for those masters as is humanly possible. I certainly wasn't let down.

The real strength of The Skull emerges with the title track, which weaves a very cool acoustic guitar riff with crushing riffing and some brilliant guitar duels from Keller and Goldsborough. Wagner's vocals are just haunting on this song and it is as good as anything Trouble has ever done. The only place where I felt let down was the "cover" of Trouble's "The Last Judgment", which isn't even close to matching the original.

But this is everything fans have been waiting for and more. It this had been the actual follow-up to Trouble's "The Skull", it would have been perfect. Jump on it, doom fans!