The Dark Age marks the fifth release for this Italian power metal group, and the band's first album with a male singer. Gustavo Gabarro takes over the mike from original vocalist Federica De Boni. This is a pleasant change for me due to the fact that I'm not a huge fan of female vocals. Gabarro comes across as a fitting vocalist for White Skull, sounding like a dead ringer for Death SS frontman Steve Sylvester.
This unfortunately is the last disc to have Nick Savio on guitar, as he has left the band to pursue the hard rock sounds of Vicious Mary. His guitar performance is just overwhelming on this record, adding a deep layer of hard rock and power metal grooves on each track. White Skull have a signature Italian power sound, but in this case I believe the album title has done the band justice, as this record brings a new "Dark Age" to the White Skull sound. Cuts like the title track, "Grand Inquisitor" and "New Crusade" are very eerie at times, almost sending an apocalyptic message to the listener, reminding me of Dark At Dawn meets Death SS in that regard. Great hooks capture other tracks, previewing what Savio had in store for his new band Vicious Mary, elevating songs like "Devil's Woman" and "A New Handbook" to guitar glory.
This type of record is exactly what White Skull needed at this point of their journey. I hope the band strays from the typical power metal sound and explores more of this "darkside". Lets welcome the Dark Age, and welcome the new White Skull. --EC 2.18.03
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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