Music Review: PLACE OF SKULLS - As A Dog Returns

As A Dog Returns
Giddy Up! Records

The fourth full-length release by doom metal group Place Of Skulls seems to be, at this moment, the last one that’s been released. Founder Victor Griffen rejoined his previous band Pentagram for some reunion dates and recordings. Place Of Skulls isn’t considered discontinued, or broken up–on hold, maybe?–but I’m hoping Victor has a few more Place Of Skulls records in him. If not, As A Dog Returns is a rather high note to end on, at least.

Here, on As A Dog Returns, we’re treated to 55 minutes of thick, heavy and down-tuned early Black Sabbath styled doom metal that’s crammed with hooks and diverse with some smokey blues and psychedelia flavorings. The album kicks things off with a nice, doomy riff and a space-y lead on “The Maker”; this is followed by the slow, dirge-like “Breath Of Life”, and then the more clean-guitar tone of “Though He Slay Me”, probably the closest thing to a “radio friendly” single on the set. “Psalms” has a style reminiscent of the Sabbath tune “Planet Caravan”, with a bit more heavy break thrown in. There’s a cover of Steppenwolf’s “Desperation” which, considering I’m not overall familiar with Stephenwolf’s work beyond the standards “Born To Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride”, I had no idea it was a cover. It was bluesy, yes, but also had that doomy crunch all the songs here have.

Overall, As A Dog Returns is a solid, satisfying listening experience. The production makes everything thick and heavy, leaving you with a pleasant dark afterglow by the time the title track ends the album. Recommended.