January 15, 2009 | | 3.5

Viking Skull, Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey

Mixing modern rock with the likes of Black Sabbath, Viking Skull take their third album to the front of the pub and proceed to get butt ass wasted on thunder rhythms and groove filled guitars. Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey sees the band getting a bit dark and sludgier with their material as they plunder through thick, catchy riff after riff.

It seems as though every track has just the right amount of everything that it needs to make it a memorable experience without going too far in any one direction. There is a purpose behind every riff and every heavy handed drum hit — and that’s to rock the fuck out. The tracks are simple and raw, but their straight to the bone approach is what makes this album so damned fun to listen to, especially when stuck in traffic in your long commute home from the confines of your cubicle at the office. Let loose with these dudes and you’re sure to find your self either passed out in a gutter or locked up for the night at your local (and friendly) jail.

Start A War
The album opens up with the quick paced and catchy call to action with the thundering “Start a War.” Simple and to the point, this serves as a great rallying intro with heavy drum work and thick bass. The catchy chorus will have you shouting along with the band in a heartbeat. The vocals are raw and gruff and fit the thick sound perfectly as Viking Skull pillage your ears with a slick solo at 1:50 that will leave you breathless like a drunken barroom brawl.

Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey
The title track keeps the mood nicely with catchy, thick riffs and plenty of groove in the rhythm section. Its slower pace doesn’t affect the flow of the album at all. The vocals come in just before the one minute mark with a slower, more deliberate delivery. There’s some decent doom influences sprinkled throughout the track. The chorus is catchy as hell. The lead at 2:58 is soulful and slick.

In Hell
“In Hell” has a great opening series of riffs and drum beats. It would definitely be home in any smoky, dank barroom. The doom flare to the song fits the mood perfectly but its quicker pace gives it room to breathe — keeping out of the suffocating shroud that doom can sometimes bring upon a song. Another dirty rock fueled lead hits just before the two minute mark and is quickly followed up with some heavy riffs (with a definite Sabbath flavor) and monstrous drumming.

Hair Of The Dog
Earth shaking rhythms and catchy grooves get “Hair Of The Dog” off to a raucous start. Heavy and raw seems to be what these dudes are all about — and I freakin’ love it. The chorus is anything but catchy, yet sticks in your head like the vague memories of a heavy night out pounding beers. There is some great guitar work around the two minute mark (and 2:30) that will certainly do wonders for your hangover.

Shot Down
After the higher paced opening half of the album, the band slows it down a great deal with the acoustic start to “Shot Down.” It’s got a bluesy edge that fits in nicely with the rest of the album, but is quickly swallowed like a shot of Jager around the :40 mark by catchy riffs and heavy drums. Dark and doomy, this song still maintains a rock fueled groove.

Double Or Quits
“Double or Quits” starts off with some slick bass before settling into a mid-tempo groove. It’s a bit airier than the previous tracks but is still catchy nonetheless. The bass that weaves in and out of the catchy riffs is infectious and pushed this track along nicely.

In For The Kill
The pace continues at full throttle with “In For The Kill.” This one is an all or nothing, blasting dirty rock track with a small bit of sludge thrown in for good measure. I’m digging the slick lead at 1:45. This is an excellent track to get pumped up with for a night out on the town, jumping from bar to bar.

19 Swords
I like the slower start to this one as the track builds into a pretty decent chugging pace. Overall this one has an interesting melancholic feel to it, especially when the keyboards come in toward the end. It’s got an epic feel to it, even though it’s really not too long (under five minutes in length). There’s really a good deal of stuff going on in this one, so pay attention.

Viking Skull ends out the album with the ridiculously silly and fun “Drink.” It sounds like an off the cuff out take that they decided to just thrown onto the end of the album. Still, it’s fun to sing along to.

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I’m a big fan of any band that incorporates some doom into their take on raw, dirty rock. The Black Sabbath influences make their appearances here and there, but only in small doses as Viking Skull pummel and plunder your cranium with thundering rhythms and catchy as hell riffage. This is definitely a must have for anyone’s album collection.

Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: