Beastmaker – Inside the Skull

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Have you ever thought that you’d like your doom heavier, darker and generally more evil-sounding? If yes, then Beastmaker‘s Inside the Skull is for you. Imagine Black Sabbath‘s Master of Reality, but heavier and focussing on themes of horror and you’ve got Inside the Skull. This is a dark record that takes you to hell and back in a consistently spectacular fashion.

A splash of menace permeates throughout Inside the Skull with a glint of evil in its eyes. Trevor William Church’s sombre, tolling (but powerful) voice awards the whole record with an uneasy feeling that flows through each of the horror-imbued tracks. Opening with the heavy, dark ‘Evil One’ was a great choice by Beastmaker. It instantly draws you to the band’s style with an invitingly dark yet catchy riff. Like the best horror movies, this is a song that never leaves your head once it has clawed its way in. Inside the Skull doesn’t let up after this – ‘Heaven To Hell’ comes storming in straight afterwards, with an onslaught of incredible riff after incredible riff.

Skull Beastmaker

There’s the odd bit of atmosphere scattered in the album. From the whale song at the start of ‘Now Howls The Beast’ to the spoken word at the start of Of God’s Creation’ and ‘Inside the Skull.’ This is a record that has fun with its themes. “Nine killed you, nine shall die, nine eternities in doom,” are the otherworldly, Hammer-Horror style words that will chill you to the bone at the beginning of the title track. Church is the wicked mind behind the band’s cruel riffs and lyrics, but John Tucker’s bass work is not to be downplayed. The bass adds a phenomenal amount of depth to Inside the Skull’s heaviness, and rounded out with Andres Alejandro Saldate’s booming, powerful drumming brings it all together in brilliant fashion. There’s a brutality to Beastmaker’s sound that is sorely missing from other doom bands.

While there’s plenty to love throughout Inside The Skull’s ten tracks, ‘Psychic Visions’ stands out as the cream of this delightfully horrible crop. This track represents Beastmaker at their catchy best. The riff will stick in your mind long after any other, which is impressive considering how consistently great Inside the Skull is. It’s a shame, however, that the record isn’t very long. Weighing in at little over 40 minutes, you’ll be left wanting more, or at least, that one or two of the tracks were a little longer. Track-length in Inside The Skull is quicker than the doom you’re used to. ‘Now Howls the Beast’ is the longest of the record, sitting in at a ‘paltry’ 5:11. For a genre that’s known for its tracks sitting upwards of seven minutes, fans of bands who stretch their musical legs over longer timeframes will be left wanting a little more.

Despite the shorter track lengths and lack of progressive elements compared to other doom acts, Beastmaker’s Inside the Skull stands out. It’s a dark, heavy record that never lets up. Inside the Skull delivers maliciously groovy riffs one after the other. This horror-imbued nightmare of doom never wants to leave your head once it has clawed its way in there. Without doubt, Inside the Skull is a highlight of 2017.

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