Viking Skull - Doom, Gloom, Heartache And Whiskey
Powerage Records
Heavy Metal
9 songs (37:14)
Release year: 2008
Viking Skull, Powerage Records
Reviewed by James

So, Viking Skull are back once again after 2007's Chapter Two effort, notably released free with Metal Hammer magazine in a somewhat Prince-esque display. Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey, from what I can gather is business as usual for Viking Skull, that business being loud, raucous heavy metal. The band sound a bit like the sludgy weightiness of prime Black Sabbath, funnelled through the sloppy, rock n' roll attitude of AC/DC and Motorhead, all topped off with Roddy Stone's whiskey-soaked and smoke-scorched roar. I've got to admit, my tastes lean towards the outer reaches of the metal spectrum, and as soon as Start A War kicked off my inner music snob wanted to dismiss it all as a load of base-level rubbish that was too loud for its' own good. But that would be missing the point altogether, and so I must throw as much subjectivity as possible to the wind (Try as I might, I can't excuse the dodgy, cliché ridden lyrics when other bands have proven it's possible to tackle this sort of thing with a degree of wit) and judge this record purely on its' own terms.

And once you try not to overthink it, Doom, Gloom, Heartache And Whiskey improves quite a bit. The band are at their best, when they're at their most rock and roll and their most bluesy, and the likes of Shot Down have riffs that swagger almost (not quite, mind) like current “best straight up rock band about” Clutch. Indeed, much of the second half continues in this vein, after the more aggressive opening three tracks that, to be honest, flounder a bit (The snarling, punkish In For The Kill later on proves they can do balls-out heaviness, mind) .It's nice to see the band paying tribute to their inspirations, too, with a cracking cover of Nazareth's Hair Of The Dog. Sadly, though, the record ends on a downer, as closer Drink is literally a two-minute joke song (and one that's not particularly funny after the first listen, either) stretched out to nearly seven minutes. And when: a) that makes it the longest track on the album and b) cutting it off the end, the record only just scrapes over half an hour, it really smacks of filler that probably seemed utterly hilarious when recording it, but in the context of a seven-minute “song” rather than a brief, humorous nugget that would play us out nicely it falls flat.

I can't say it'll wean me off my Kayo Dot records, but fans of full-on rock and roll will surely lap this up. The success of Airbourne could well indicate a revival of this sort of thing, and with he-of-the-famous-little-brother Jess Margera of CKY behind the drum kit, people may well start taking an interest in Viking Skull. It's all well played, reasonably well-written (musically speaking, anyway) and Roddy Stone is in possession of a suitably authentic howl. With their recent signing to Candlelight, I see no reason why Viking Skull couldn't take on the world. It may not do anything for me personally, but there are thousands of people out there who will love this. Points docked for devoting nearly a quarter (!) of the record to unnecessary juvenile crap, mind.

Killing Songs :
Hair Of The Dog, Shot Down, In For The Kill
James quoted 72 / 100
Alex quoted 84 / 100
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