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Place Of Skulls
The Black Is Never Far

Company: Exile On Mainstream Records
Release: 2006
Genre: Doom
Reviewer: Raising Iron

  • Very traditional doom riffs awash in '70s stylings



  • Guitarist Victor Griffin continues down the straight and narrow with his current outfit, Place of Skulls, and their third full-length entitled The Black Is Never Far. The former Pentagram player has found biblical peace and now proselytizes with a clear message for those willing to search their souls and faith, or lack thereof. But don't let the lyrical content dissuade if Christianity so happens to be a sticking point for you, as what you get is everything Pentagram was on their "classic three" releases (those being Relentless {or S/T}, Day of Reckoning, and Be Forewarned) and more.

    Yes, doom lovers can continue to revel in old-school doom riffage via Saint Vitus (of whom Wino did play with these guys for a short spell!), Trouble, and of course, the mighty Black Sabbath. If you're not familiar with previous output from Place Of Skulls, or God forbid the legendary Pentagram, what you'll find is very traditional doom riffs awash in '70s stylings. Even the production is creamy and warm, reeking of those early vinyl vibes you may or may not recall.

    Every one of the ten songs proper (13 tracks listed, 3 of which are very short instrumentals) will have you indulging gaily in classic doom, but there are some tracks that truly standout, first of which is Darkest Hour, with its insistently heavy leaden riff and powerful chorus; you can't help but push the replay button on your player. The title track is highly emotive in its relaying of the battle within ones own self, Victor singing so personally and from the heart you can't help but be moved; it's soft, acoustic opening setting the tone for this somber song. Right after this song comes "We the Unrighteous", the speediest number on the album with decidedly politically incorrect lyrics that are sure to ruffle the feathers of those who won't get the point. The standout number though has to be "Lookin' For A Reason", with it's acoustic intro accompanied by *gasp* saxophone which makes me think there's a new sub-sub-sub-genre about to be unleashed upon us called "Adult Contemporary Doom"!?! This truly is an absolutely beautiful song pinned down to the pavement by that old-school doom riff/chord progression which allows for some excellent guitar soloing in places as well as the aforementioned sax playing. Truly new ground is being broken here. The closing track is another introspective number, again emotively driven by the vocalizing, and finally, for the Pentagram die-hards, you get a faithful and true-to-form rerecording of the classic song "Relentless".

    This little known act has been making doom of the highest caliber approaching ten years now, so if you don't have any Place Of Skulls yet, grab this or one of their other 2 full-lengths/1 EP, if you're a fan a doom in its purest form ala Black Sabbath, this is sure to satiate.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: PLACE OF SKULLS
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    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    The Black Is Never FarPlace Of Skulls
    2006
    Raising Iron3/6/2009


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