VIKING SKULL
"Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey"

(Candlelight)

01. Start a War
02. Doom Gloom Heartache & Whiskey
03. In Hell
04. Hair of the Dog
05. Shot Down
06. Double or Quits
07. In for the Kill
08. 19 Swords
09. Drink

RATING: 7.5/10

Some of you may recall that VIKING SKULL was formed in 2003 by members of RAGING SPEEDHORN and got some early acclaim, but went largely unnoticed on U.S. shores. Let's hope that Candlelight's U.S. release of "Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey" changes that. It is really quite simple. If you dig whiskey-swigging, bar-room-brawling, southern-baked hard rock and metal, then you are sure to embrace "Doom, Gloom, Heartache, & Whiskey" with open arms and damaged ears.

Spend a minute or two with this album and you would swear VIKING SKULL hail from North Carolina and frequently travel down the road to raise hell and jam with ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY. This is no cheap imitation; "Doom, Gloom, Heartache, & Whiskey" is about boogie slams and hot-ass riffs with big, burly vocals from founder Roddy Stone that make it sound as though he gargles with Wild Turkey and broken glass before ever take. After a straight-ahead opening number called "Start a War" that oddly, but effectively, has a vague PRO-PAIN vibe (some of that has to do with Stone's vocals on the track), the title track hits like a ton of breaks and breaks into a serious boogie groove. The stop/start riff of "Hair of the Dog" smokes with a just a sliver of "Deliverance"-era COC, while up-tempo rocker "Double or Quits" features the attention grabbing, naked vocal line, "I've been the victim of a bitch with a seven-year itch." Truthfully, at just over a half hour, the first eight tracks keep kickin' ass one right after the other with no room for yawns. Closing song "Drink" is a grand declaration of inebriation and all your friends are invited. Accompanied by piano and tambourine, the pub sing-a-along features a chorus of "We're gonna drink 'til we shit our pants." It'll bring a tear to your bloodshot eye.

I'm sure you get the point and now realize what "Doom, Gloom, Heartache & Whiskey" is all about. This style of music — provided the songwriting is up to snuff — never gets old, unless all your attention is focused on buying albums from bands with members wearing eyeliner and girly pants. By the way, you can catch VIKING SKULL — also featuring Jess Margera of CKY — on tour with CLUTCH in late December.

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