Maximum Metal Rating Legend
5 Excellent - Masterpiece. A classic.
4.5-4 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a lacking.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio.
2.5-2 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors.
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0 Terrible - Waste of your life and time.

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Place Of Skulls
The Black Is Never Far
Exile On Mainstream
3/6/2009 - Review by: Raising Iron

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.

      4.5 :AVE RATING

    The Black Is Never Far
    Exile On Mainstream
    Raising Iron3/6/2009


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