The Skull: For Those Which Are Asleep

Windy City’s doom veterans embark on a new chapter

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Circa 1984-85, Chicago Christian doom godheads Trouble constructed new standards in heavy metal, while their Rick Rubin-produced records in 1990-1 added a psychedelic 70s groove that proved just as influential on 90s doom. They limped towards an ignominious fracture in 2009 when founding singer Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff Olson left.

Reconvening with ex-Trouble bassist Ron Holzner and a new guitar duo, the estranged pioneers named themselves after Trouble’s second LP and re-recorded Trouble’s first ever song, The Last Judgement. It’s the strongest on this debut, although there’s plenty satisfying about the gelatinous, string-bent Sabbathian rumbling of The Touch Of Reality and Sick Of It All.

His voice now huskier, and with the pointed absence of sinister guitar harmonies, the classic Trouble signatures are fewer than you might expect. A few songs fall short, but special mention to Holzner’s sweet feel for his four-string./o:p

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.