Beastmaker - Inside The Skull album review

West Coast retro-doom crew invoke some fiendish friends

Cover art for Beastmaker - Inside The Skull album

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A self-proclaimed Danzig and Black Sabbath-spawned child of darkness, Beastmaker aren’t toying with their hypnotic formula of stoner rock-infused retro-doom on their second album. Crucially, Inside The Skull sounds like the Fresno, California trio were having fun while making it, setting them apart from the try-hard nature of many of their peers. Whilst this is a guitar-driven record with groovy, heavy riffs and razor-sharp solos, Trevor William Church’s voice sounds like it’s subjected to delay and distortion at the same time, bringing a weird 90s grunge feeling of dislocation and anxiety into the mix. The album also contains two outstanding collaborations, with Lucifer chanteuse Johanna Sadonis utilising her vibrato to amplify the horror vibes of Heaven To Hell and Now Howls The Beast, while Salem’s Pot frontman Nate Bahn adds an undertow of vocals to the closing Sick Sick Demon. While each of the 10 tracks here have their own distinctive flair, Inside The Skull’s potent atmosphere binds them into an immersive and compelling whole. This child has claws.