When The Skull played Toronto on a cold winter’s night in January, they ran through Trouble’s self-titled in its entirety before tacking on a couple of originals at the end. Hey, after all, that 1990 record has been long out of print, and this outfit includes both Eric Wagner, the voice of Trouble, along with original Trouble bassist Ron Holzner. Their new band began as a project to play another Trouble album in its entirety on the German festival circuit, and while they have released an album before this one, it’s pretty safe to say that I know The Endless Road will sound like Trouble before I even press play.
The title track does not disappoint, offering up a pretty tasty distorted doom riff right from the get-go. This one’s got some of the swing and groove of early 90’s Trouble, although the chorus could be a little more impactful. “Ravenswood” is another decent doom ‘n roll stomper, with chugging riffs and airy vocals. The chorus is also a little lighter on this one, almost more grunge than doom. At six and a half minutes, “Breathing Underwater” leans more toward traditional Trouble doom than its predecessors, with lyrics drawing from Wagner’s repertoire of dark religious themes. Although the verses are lighter and more vocal driven, it’s still my favourite song thus far.
Likewise, “The Longing” offers up some of that vintage Trouble stomp, nailing the evil-sounding guitar tone. And “From Myself Depart” is a pretty gloomy out-of-love song that hits the mark, with a solid mid-tempo section around the midway mark. The opening riff to “As the Sun Draws Near” is absolutely killer, and while its verse/chorus is a little too reminiscent of “At the End of My Daze,” it does take a turn for the better with some ripping double leads before slowing things down in the final minute or so. This song, much like the album itself (with the exception of skippable ballad “All That Remains”), gets better as it goes along.