For those of you who may not know, The Skull is vocalist Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner (ex – Trouble); Lothar Keller (Divinity Compromised & Sacred Dawn), guitar; Rob Wrong (Witch Mountain), guitar; and Brian Dixon (ex – Cathedral), drums. So, let’s get right to it, the million dollar, burning question: Is this record any good, or is The Skull just overrated?
Easy answer. The Endless Road Turns Dark cements The Skull as the premier doom outfit in existence, it’s that good. No, check that, it’s great. ‘The Endless Road Turns Dark” has depth, texture, and dimension which is a tough gig to pull off with a sophomore effort; that usually happens later on.
Here’s how I see it. Their first record, For Those Which Are Asleep, set a high standard with doom records. The Endless Road Turns Dark is next-level mastery. In a lot of ways it reminded me of ’80s-era Trouble mixed with a dose of Simple Mind Condition turned up a few notches. In fact, this is the record that helps me understand how Trouble had such a trademark sound and groove to them, how much of an influence Wagner and Holzner had on that band and currently have on The Skull. Now it all makes sense.
Three tracks into The Endless Road Turns Dark are two soon-to-be classics, “Breathing Underwater” and “The Longing.” Now keep this in mind: the record itself is only eight songs long, yet the record as a whole is, without doubt, epic. That means every song is killer, not filler.
Without getting into a The Skull versus Trouble debate, and full disclosure, I’m a fan of both, let me say this and then leave it alone. If you didn’t know, “Breathing Underwater” and “The Longing” were The Skull songs, you’d swear they were part of the classic Trouble catalog; they’re that damn incredible. And think about what makes a record great, what makes it classic. It’s usually two or three songs that stand out and become fan favorites. Mark my words, these two songs will be that for The Skull.
I’ve listened to this record more times than I have The Skull’s first offering, For Those Which Are Asleep. I’m baffled trying to understand how greatness like The Endless Road Turns Dark is creatively born; it’s art conceived and executed on such a high scale. Not only does it satisfy Skull fans, Trouble fans will enjoy it too. This will be the record and tour The Skull fans will always remember and reference in years to come. Believe it or not, this is an understatement. It’s the number-one doom record of the year, hands down. Buy it.