Doom, Glood, and Heartache? More like booze, riffs, and metal up your ass

It’s by no means unusual for Metal bands to have trouble keeping the same group of musicians together, album after album, year after year. Metallica, Iron Maiden, and even Black Sabbath have had all kinds of membership issues over the years, for one reason or another. So it is with Viking Skull.

Usually one line-up fits best, and it would appear Viking Skull have now found theirs. Tighter, meaner, and with better tunes than before they can no longer be thought of as a side-project or a joke band, but are very much a going concern.

Part Sabbath, part Motorhead, part Down, Doom Gloom and Heartache is all booze, gambling, and the evils of women. There’s little subtlety to be found in the music, which consists largely of chugging riffs, ballistic drumming, and guttural belches from Roddy Stone. And lyrically ‘Skull aren’t playing with complex concepts here, instead keeping it lean and simple.

What makes this record stand-out, however, is their more than evident sense of humour, making sure the tongue is firmly in cheek, without resorting to any Darkness like campness, or AC/DC-esque double entendres.

Instead, on piano led closer Drink they tell it like it is, “Drink, give me more drink, I wanna drink till I shit my pants.” It’s the kind of song you can imagine them hollering out in the small hours of the morning, half a dozen sheets to the wind. It smacks of honesty, living it up, and telling it like it is.

And when they get down to business this band rock the proverbial. Start A War, In Hell and the title track set the standard with a relentless surge of metal. Influences worn on their sleeve from the off, to the point where on In Hell they don’t so much as borrow Sabbath’s Iron Man, as nick it and move it up a fret or two.

What solos there are are kept short, sharp, and crunchy like a one inch punch of pure shredding joy. Which is fitting, as these boys haven’t the time to sit around noodling like crazy, it’d be a waste of valuable drinking time.