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Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey

Viking Skull

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Album Review

Brawling, ugly biker, art rock-metal might be an oxymoron in some universes but not, thankfully, in ours. And if the description might be a bit flowery it's still fairly accurate for Viking Skull, who on their third album, Doom Gloom Heartache & Whisky, are clearly dedicated to that most noble of goals: riffs that collapse skulls and hooks that roar with swagger. (Given the title, this is truly a stellar example of truth in advertising.) Not to mention solos, because that's what this kind of music best requires, thus the excellent break on "Start a War" — not merely in the heroic mode but the everything-drops-out-except-for-a-dying-burst follow-through. While the template established doesn't really change much at all for the rest of the album — a notable exception being the acoustic guitar start on "Shot Down" a handy break for breath — it's a formula handled well and the band collectively know how to deliver the material. The lead singer's ear for good shout-alongs intriguingly tempered by a tendency to disappear into the mix a bit — he's not commanding the vocals, more urging the music on with them. Any number of subtle nods to classic hard rock and metal abound (and sometimes unsubtle nods, as with the wink-and-nudge reworking of "Iron Man" on "In Hell," but Viking Skull are a band that knows its history and is out to have a lot of fun with it — which they do.

Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey, Viking Skull
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