The Skull is set to bring forth sounds of doom from some of the very founders of the whole friggin genre “Doom Metal” at For the Community 14 Festival. “Doom”, to the uninitiated is a genre of rock, specifically heavy metal music, known for it’s ominous sound which evokes a sense of concern, despair, and impending dread. What makes The Skull interesting is their history, the sounds they create, and the lyrical content the music delivers. What is important to making doom reach people is to speak to things that are worthy of despair, dread, or ruin. To do this you have to care about something.
The Skull features original Trouble vocalist Eric Wagner alongside long-time former Trouble bassist Ron Holzner with guitarist Lothar Keller (Sacred Dawn), drummer Brian Dixon ( Cathedral) and guitarist Rob Wrong (Witch Mountain). For those who haven’t heard of the member’s history hold on because there is an entire catalogue of music to be enjoyed. Trouble is an American doom band formed in 1979 and considered one of the pioneers of the genre. They have 8 studio albums with the bulk being on Metal Blade and Def American. If you are not familiar and like heavy music you should probably go check them all out but especially Trouble and Manic Frustration. Though the first two albums in ‘84 and ‘85 have some great work on them too.
“The Skull” are very talented musicians carrying on the unique sound of American foundational doom metal band “Trouble”. They are simultaneously stepping forward with new material. The Skull’s work, “For those Which are Asleep” has the quality and feel of the original sound, coupled with lessons learned and a bit different team dynamic creating new sounds, new songs, while at the same time and revisiting a few with different eyes.
The Skull’s ten song LP is stuffed full of slower tempos, low tuned, thick guitar sounds, and more. Don’t be fooled though, at times the guitar sweeps up and you believe you are moving closer to the edge of thrash. More often the bass circles around playing the same riffs as the guitar providing a double down heavy driving sound. The album does not lack for guitar solos yet they are tastefully done and do not detract from the songs. Till The Sun Turns Black is one that I particularly remember the guitar solos in this manner.
The songs deliver unique, strong lyrical content as well. The clean styling lends to understanding the vocals yet full of emotion and passionate intensity delivering their messages with sincerity. The title track starts with acoustic guitar and soft symbols and builds in scope to encompass heaven and hell. The phrase “those which are asleep” is broad reaching in its application. People speak of “waking” when they have a profound new experience or insight. The use of the word sleep to mean more than simply what we do to recharge when exhausted. It was a theme for the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “Other men are unaware of what they do when they are awake just as they are forgetful of what they do when they are asleep”. Yet rather than complaining about, or chastising these sleepers the song recognizes value in the sleepers singing of weeping, and praying for them. Another song from the album,‘The Door” plays on themes of light and dark. It only mentions the door in the intro and the exit. The song kicks off first person narrative telling of a quest “For all my life I've been searching for the door that opens from the side you're on” and ending with a desire to “Show you to the door”. Our narrator informs us he is “darker than you know”, and that “through the dark there is a light” but he does not claim the light warms in the sense of providing peace. In fact, he claims., “I have no peace, only questions” but goes on to point out that “Inward lie the answers”. Towards the end of the song, he says he is down by the waterside “...feeding my soul at the source of color and sound.” The song concludes with the narrator longing to “show you to the door”. The songs speak of loneliness, of turning inward for answers and truth, concern for the sleepers, and there is what some may say is a love song “Till the Sun Turns Black”, the final track is a cover of Trouble’s “The Last Judgement” that takes the listener beyond death. These songs, and many more of both Trouble’s and The Skull deliver an apparent truth things are only “doomy” if you are concerned. So be concerned!
“For Those Which Are Asleep” is out on TeePee records the current or one time home of: Witch, The Shrine, Earthless, Graveyard, Sleep, Harsh Toke, Lecherous Gaze, Hot Lunch, Carousel, Harsh Toke, Annihilation Time, High On Fire, Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound, FOGG, Death Alley, Blaak Heat Shujaa, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Entrance Band, Hopewell, Imaad Wasif, Jason Simon, JOY, Kadavar, Karma To Burn, King Tuff, Mirror Queen, Naam, Night Horse, Priestess, Quest For Fire, Spindrift, Sweet Apple, Sacri Monti, The Atomic Bitchwax, The Fucking Wrath, The Main Street Gospel, The Saint James Society, The Warlocks, Truckfighters, Weird Owl, Whirr, and Ya Ho Wa 13.
Raw Tejas Soap a long time sponsor of For the Community wanted to be able to provide something unique for this Autumn’s FTC, so they booked The Skull!! Now everyone may enjoy their music live at For the Community Fest! At some fests the sponsors simply throw money at a fest and toss their name around everywhere. Strangely at FTC14, Raw Tejas is not only supporting, but working to advance music and the festival. Could there be something there that is good for soap? Maybe all those dancing, head banging, rocking out bodies need soap and no mass produced soap will do? Could it be that selling soap at these festival has caused Raw Tejas to “go native” and working to attract new talent to the fest? Whatever it is we are glad for it!
FTC14 is free to attend Nov 10th and 11th at Last Concert Cafe, Houston Underground, and Notsuoh. The fest is free to attend, which leaves attendees money to spend on music, or merchandise from the vendors, and artists whether for themselves or loved ones.