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The Skull is “Breathing Underwater” as Trouble Pursues

the skull

Eric Wagner may be doom metal’s purest voice. It was obvious as far back as those mid-1980s Trouble albums that spit in the face of those trying to go faster than everyone else. Psalm 9 and its follow-up The Skull were heavier than all of them. It was also evident on the 1990s releases the band did for Rick Rubin’s American Recordings which incorporated psychedelia into the mix.

Those vocals, high-pitched evocative wails with near-biblical amounts of fury, remain strong despite the passing three decades and his penchant to chain-smoke during performance. He shows them off on The Endless Road Turns Dark, the second album from Chicago-based offshoot project The Skull. Check out an exclusive stream of the album’s third track “Breathing Underwater” below.

The Endless Road Turns Dark draws from both eras of Trouble, and “Breathing Underwater” is a perfect exemplar. Guitarist Rob Wrong says, “When I presented the demo for ‘Breathing Underwater’ to Eric and told him the working title was ‘Drowning,’ he listened, turned to me, and said, ‘I know what this is about.’ Musically, it’s heavily David Gilmour inspired with a twist of good ‘ol Sabbath influence, psychedelic doom, if you will!”

Wrong replaces guitarist Matt Goldsborough who recorded For Those Which Are Asleep, the band’s 2014 debut. His experience with Witch Mountain (he is playing with both bands) as well as the fact that current Saint Vitus drummer Henry Vasquez is subbing on tour for regular drummer Brian Dixon, himself a Cathedral alumnus, shows that The Skull are now approaching doom supergroup status.

The Endless Road Turns Dark befits the band’s pedigree. When they want to bludgeon you with Brontosaurian riffs worthy of Iommi, they hit you with the title track, the plodding “Ravenswood” and “From Myself Depart,” a modern update on Sabbath’s bluesy “Hands of Doom.” When they want to get trippy, “The Longing” offers a hippie harmonized chorus and “As the Sun Draws Near” is reminiscent of “At the End of my Daze,” one of Trouble’s best-known tracks from their 1990s output.

The Endless Road Turns Dark releases September 7th via Tee Pee Records. Follow the band on here.

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