SKULLVIEW



"Consequences of Failure" (R.I.P. Records; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Fans of the best 80s power metal will find themselves falling to their knees and proclaiming, "We are not worthy!" before any stereo speaker from whence the roaring metal sounds of "Consequences of Failure" blast forth. It's a raging, uncompromising slab of rock fury that stands close behind such legendary albums as Iron Maiden's "Powerslave."

In fact, it's the CD's comparison to "Powerslave" that is either its success or its downfall, depending on your point of view. "Consequences of Failure" doesn't have the slick production value of the classic Iron Maiden CD but it could be that particular recording's long lost brother. Listening to "Consequences," I couldn't help but think of it as a sort of "Powerslave" sequel. Bottom line: If you like "Powerslave," I'm betting you'll like "Consequences of Failure." A lot.

Most of the similarities have to do with vocalist "Earthquake" Quimby Lewis, who sounds a lot like Bruce Dickinson in his heyday. But the songwriting and style of musicianship is also very similar. Don't get me wrong: Skullview is no Iron Maiden tribute band but they've obviously been influenced by such greats as Maiden, Helloween and others.

Although there isn't a bad cut on the CD, standout tracks include "Skullview (Warrior)," an anthemic call to metal arms and "Armed with an Axe" which brings to mind the successfully screeching style of Cirith Ungol's Tim Baker. Also noteworthy is the bonus track, a cover of Black Sabbath's "Digital Bitch" (from the underrated "Born Again" album).

I hate to keep coming back to Iron Maiden, but the bottom line is this: Comparing the more recent work of Maiden and "Consequences of Failure," I've got to give the edge to Skullview. The band's edge is still sharp and their sound still rough and strong while Maiden, sadly, seems to be fading.

Skullview: "Earthquake" Quimby Lewis, vocals; Dean Tavernier, guitar; Dave Hillegonds, guitar; Joe Garavalia, drums; Peter Clemens, bass.

For more information check out http://truemetal.org/skullview


"Kings of the Universe" (R.I.P. Records; 1999)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

With all the hoopla surround the return of Iron Maiden, I sure hope that Skullview doesn't get swept under the rug. For my money, this band is as good or better than modern Maiden and they're willing to take musical chances that Dickinson and company would never dream of.

"Kings of the Universe" starts out with the title cut, a very Maiden-like number. But the band strays from that point often throughout the remainder of the CD, only occasionally bringing to mind the band that Eddie lives in.

For example, the final cut, "Power of the Gleam of the Skull (part 2)" is as close to punk rock as Skullview ever wanna get. It's more like a Guns N'Roses song than anything else but it's pure Skullview all the way.

Track 5, "Mourning Light", starts with a soothing wind effect and some delightful acoustic guitar. Then, the acoustic fades away and we get a little light electric. The vocals begin and the song morphs into a heavy but tamed riff monster.

Musically, the band is exceptionally tight. The guitars are razor sharp and the bass gives the music a monstrous backbone. The drums are exceptional, racing along when required and slowing to a timekeeping trot when necessary. The vocals owe a little to Bruce Dickinson (or maybe it's the other way around?) but are uniquely their own as well.

The production is a little muddied in places but never to an overwhelming effect. And the band's songwriting has come along somewhat since the last release.

Anyone who's a fan of real heavy metal music is gonna love Skullview's "Kings of the Universe." It's a rousing, head-banging success. And, hey, I found out where "Gleam of the Skull Part 2" is.

Skullview is "Earthquake" Quimby Lewis, vocals; Dean Tavernier, guitar; Dave Hillegonds, guitar; Joe Garavalia, drums; Peter Clemens, bass.

For more information check out http://truemetal.org/skullview


"Legends of Valor" (R.I.P. Records; 1998)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

It is unlikely that any regular reader of Rough Edge would dislike a CD with song titles like "The Night of the Metalkill," "Dreamworld Terror in the Valley of Metal" and "Gleam of the Skull Part I (The Power.)" It is equally unlikely that any regular Rough Edge reader will find Skullview's "Legends of Valor" anything but powerfully entertaining.

A fascinating and effective mixture of familiar sounds, including traces of Judas Priest, Hellwoeen, Iron Maiden and Grim Reaper, Skullview plays pure, raw heavy metal and makes no bones about it. Says drummer and founding member Joe Garavalia, "We started jamming music that we wanted to hear, and it pretty much follows our pattern of all the best metal we grew up with as kids."

Garavalia's comments pretty much sum up Skullview's strengths. This band obviously has a love for heavy metal and that dedication shines in each song on "Legends of Valor." Starting with the (here we go with the comparisons again) Grim Reaper-like "The Night of Metalkill," a raging song that celebrates the very nature of metal, "Legends of Valor" pounds along at a furious pace, powered by heavy, thrumming guitars. Other highlights of the CD include the Iron Maiden-flavored "Blood on the Blade," the finger-blistering "Watching Below from My Moonlight Throne," the atmospheric "Stone of A Thousand Spells" and the razor-sharp "Into the Walls of Knowledge."

If there is any complaint about "Legends of Valor" it is that there are only eight songs on the CD (where the hell is "Gleam of the Skull, Part II"?). Those eight songs total an acceptable 45 minutes of playing time but "Legends of Valor" will leave you wanting more.

SKULLVIEW is: Joe Garavalia, drums; Dean Tavernier, guitar; Pete Clemens, bass; Dave Hillegonds, guitar; "Earthquake" Quimby Lewis, vocals.

For more information check out http://truemetal.org/skullview


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 24 Sep 2017 15:29:52 -0400.