Place Of Skulls With Vision

The follow-up to last year’s Nailed from Tennessee’s doomsters Place of Skulls was anticipated enough, but include the Obsessed/Spirit Caravan guitar hero Scott "Wino” Weinrich and you have a match made in metal heaven. After all, lead guitarist and band founder Victor Griffin used to play for doom legends Pentagram, so naturally he and Wino have an unspoken chemistry that translates to golden songwriting — not to mention the super vocal swapping between the two on With Vision. Opening the album with a loud snare snap, "Last Hit” is one of the strongest cuts with wailing solos and classic doom grooves that few bands have mastered, and the title track is just as urgent, though at a slower tempo. The plodding "Lost Long Grave” and "Willfully Blind” add a phaser to the guitar tones, and the strong "Nothing Changes” also dabbles with the same while sporting an excellent intro by bassist Greg Turley. Three instrumentals complement the heavy riffing, and Wino’s acoustic "Dissonant Dissident” smacks of the homespun attitude of Paw’s Home Is a Strange Place. Griffin’s "The Monster” and Wino’s "The Watchers” are more lethargic tunes, replete with their gruff yet soulful tenors and stratospheric soloing with echo effects. With Vision is a solid release for Place of Skulls — and even better than Wino’s new band, the Hidden Hand — and a suitable one for those yearning for the days of Internal Void, Saint Vitus, and Hellhound Records. (Southern Lord)