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Viking Skull: Cursed by the sword

12/07/12  ||  gk

Viking Skull started life as a joke band opening for British stoner metal outfit Raging Speedhorn. They had a couple of Speedhorn’s roadies in their ranks and the aim was some good old fashioned beer soaked heavy metal fun. Somewhere along the way though, Viking Skull became a bit more serious and “Cursed by the sword” is the bands fourth full length album in ten years of existence.

The mandate for the band is still the same. The music is heavy, groovy, loads of fun and perfect for a whiskey and beer session. “Cursed by the sword” is also an improvement over previous album “Doom, gloom, heartache and whiskey” or for that matter any of their previous albums. It sounds to me like, for the first time in their recording career, Viking Skull has managed to record an album that is consistently good. This is not the usual album from the band where you’d get maybe 3 great songs and a whole bunch of filler. The songs on this album are all pretty good and some are really fucking great.

The album starts with the rousing “Five fingers of steel” and the opening groove is familiar and predictable in its Southern nature but it’s still fun as the band builds up effortlessly to a great chorus. Title song “Cursed by the sword” is a short instrumental that builds on a melodic guitar line and sets the mood for the next song “Fire”. This is a slightly more thought out and measured approach from the band and the song works quite well with a melodic and more mid paced approach. “Pumped” sounds like it could have been on any old Motorhead album and is some good nostalgia baiting fun. “You look like I need a beer” is as entertaining as that title suggests and the chorus has been stuck in my head for a while now. My bitch talks too much channels the spirit of AC/DC with slight southern touches but has a bass groove in the middle that reminds me of Boney M for some reason. I’m probably wrong about that though. The album ends with “Sleepwalk” which builds up a beautiful heavy riff over the course of its seven minutes and closes the album on a mid-paced and doom heavy note with the lyrics surprisingly getting a bit darker as well.

This album surprised me. I was not expecting this much consistency from Viking Skull but the band has delivered a pretty good album. This is heavy, slightly raw and rough around the edges but it’s also wonderfully catchy stuff. Roddy Stone’s rough, shouty singing voice may be a stumbling block in appreciating the songs but if you can get past that, then Viking Skull will almost certainly entertain you.

7,5

  • Information
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Transcend Music
  • Website: Viking Skull MySpace
  • Band
  • Roddy Stone: vocals
  • Frank Reagan: guitars
  • Jules Cooper: guitars
  • Waldie: bass
  • Jess Margera: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Five fingers of steel
  • 02. This is the end
  • 03. Cursed by the sword
  • 04. Fire
  • 05. Pumped!
  • 06. You look like I need a beer
  • 07. Machine gun honey
  • 08. My bitch talks too much
  • 09. Second left on harris
  • 10. Sleepwalk