Rating:
9.3
Place Of Skulls - As A Dog Returns
9 November 2010


01. The Maker
02. Breath Of Life
03. Though He Slay Me
04. Psalms
05. Dayspring
06. Timeless Hearts
07. He's God
08. Desperation [Steppenwolf cover]
09. As A Dog Returns


Place Of Skulls proves that you don't need screaming vocals, drop D guitars or blast beats to be heavy, but on the contrary, slow, hard hitting, powerful riffs and heart felt vocals weigh you down. Their new album, As a Dog Returns, is saturated with doom and gloom mixed with optimism and faith. It is my top pick for both best Doom Metal album and best Christian Metal album for 2010!

The rather traditional approach to Doom here is actually somewhat refreshing to hear in the midst of many "extreme" Doom bands that permeate the scene. While it does have a nice old school 70's rock feel at times, this is by no means a retro album and it fits nicely among modern releases with its dash of Stoner Metal thrown in there. Mixing the hard hitting songs with the mellow ballads throughout the record creates an astonishing atmosphere that allows for high replay value. The music is so well written and tightly preformed that there is no need to be flashy as this Knoxville three-piece delivers gripping melodies and concrete solid rhythm.

Guitarist/vocalist Victor Griffin shares his love of God from start to finish with some incredibly heartfelt lyrics that at no point come off as cliche or cheesy. Tracks like "He's God" is a full blown worship song the brings me to my knees when I hear it. "The Maker," "Breath of Life," "Though He Slay Me," and "Psalm" are stalwart songs of praise that are just dripping with love and passion. The 10-minute epic centerpiece "Dayspring" is hands down of the best Doom anthem I have ever heard.

After four years, Place Of Skulls has returned with, what is arguably, their best release ever. A decade after their demo the band is undeniably tight and proficient at their craft. Four albums in the band has no problem continuing to bearing their faith to the world. Undoubtedly, As a Dog Returns is going to be on many top lists for this year. And rightfully so.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Place Of Skulls
Album: As A Dog Returns


 



Written on 18.12.2010 by
Dane Train
Dane hails from Asheville, NC which is Beer City, USA. When he is not drinking various craft and micro brews, Dane fronts the Stoner Doom Metal band, The Quick. He also has a massive collection of Hellboy comic books.
More reviews by Dane Train ››



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Marcel Hubregtse - 18.12.2010 at 23:20  
Totally agreed.
My number three of the year.

Btw, special mention should also go out to the great cover of Steppenwolf's Desperation.
Warrior_Of_Ice - 19.12.2010 at 00:25  
Christian metal, what a fucking joke
Marcel Hubregtse - 19.12.2010 at 00:30  
Written by Warrior_Of_Ice on 19.12.2010 at 00:25

Christian metal, what a fucking joke


Anti-Christian metal what a fucking joke,
Metal is like life there's a place for everything there.
And even though you might not apprve of its message this is easily one of the best albums that was released this year.
Warrior_Of_Ice - 19.12.2010 at 00:42  
Ill give it a listen, but i hate music that is tainted with religious propaganda (including anti-christian metal)
Dane Train - 19.12.2010 at 01:07  
Written by Warrior_Of_Ice on 19.12.2010 at 00:25

Christian metal, what a fucking joke


Why do you feel that Christian Metal is a joke?
Warrior_Of_Ice - 19.12.2010 at 02:16  
Im not gonna start arguing with you since your listed occupation is: Minister...
Wes - 19.12.2010 at 02:20  
Written by Dane Train on 19.12.2010 at 01:07

Written by Warrior_Of_Ice on 19.12.2010 at 00:25

Christian metal, what a fucking joke


Why do you feel that Christian Metal is a joke?


Christian metal IS a joke. This is because any metal that takes on a religious form is screwing it's self. "Anti-christian" is not a religious faith or belief, it is a lack of one and the following criticism towards those who do hold faiths. We all know that holding a belief is different than not holding one. The holder is then responsible for justifying that belief. The same thing happens in metal or any art form. Putting a religious label over any piece of art put's that piece of art into a very special category worthy of any criticism or praise people may throw at it.

Anyway, be it religion or politics (pro or against), it always gets odd when added to art and music.
Dane Train - 19.12.2010 at 02:30  
Written by Warrior_Of_Ice on 19.12.2010 at 02:16

Im not gonna start arguing with you since your listed occupation is: Minister...


Who said anything about an argument? I am just simply interested in your perspective on this subject. I stay away from arguing, it is a negative action and I attempt to only fill my life with positive actions.
Daydream Nation - 19.12.2010 at 02:58  
Going back to the album...BIG disappointment. Maybe an 8 out of 10, if that. Definitely not going in my top 20 this year.
Marcel Hubregtse - 19.12.2010 at 04:03  
Written by Guest on 19.12.2010 at 02:58

Going back to the album...BIG disappointment. Maybe an 8 out of 10, if that. Definitely not going in my top 20 this year.


what did you find disappointing about it? Especially compared to their previous two. Cause the way you state come across to me you liked their other works.
I am really interested in your reason why because you're the first person I come across who finds it a disappointment. That implies you were expecting it to be good. Loads of people dislike it but then again they never liked this sort of doom.
Daydream Nation - 19.12.2010 at 04:58  
No, I mean...I checked it out because of all the hype on Metal Storm about it, but it just didn't meet my expectations. I think it was the dash of stoner metal that kind of stood out for me...If doom ever colludes with any other genre, I would prefer it to be death. But I disagree with the reviewer; while the rhythm section was solid, the melodies were lacking in many instances, particularly Dayspring.
Marcel Hubregtse - 19.12.2010 at 05:04  
Btw imo there is not much stoner in here at all. It is all just pure unadultered traditional doom.
Locke - 19.12.2010 at 07:05  
Christian metal, what a fucking joke.
Satanic metal, what a fucking joke.
Pagan metal, what a fucking joke.
Scientologist metal, what a fucking joke.
Mormon metal, what a fucking joke.
Objectivist metal, what a fucking joke.
etc. etc. bitch, bitch.
Locke - 19.12.2010 at 07:10  
Written by Wes on 19.12.2010 at 02:20

Written by Dane Train on 19.12.2010 at 01:07

Written by Warrior_Of_Ice on 19.12.2010 at 00:25

Christian metal, what a fucking joke


Why do you feel that Christian Metal is a joke?


Christian metal IS a joke. This is because any metal that takes on a religious form is screwing it's self. "Anti-christian" is not a religious faith or belief, it is a lack of one and the following criticism towards those who do hold faiths. We all know that holding a belief is different than not holding one. The holder is then responsible for justifying that belief. The same thing happens in metal or any art form. Putting a religious label over any piece of art put's that piece of art into a very special category worthy of any criticism or praise people may throw at it.

Anyway, be it religion or politics (pro or against), it always gets odd when added to art and music.


i no rite? I mean have you seen the Sistine Chapel? Michelangelo was such a tool for letting religion get in the way of his art. Keep that lame shit outta there.
Warrior_Of_Ice - 19.12.2010 at 08:43  
Getting back to the album- it sounds like garage rock to me. not impressed to be honest
RafaRata - 19.12.2010 at 11:41  
From what I listened in their myspace , the music is not that special
K†ulu - 19.12.2010 at 11:45  
I think Doom Metal is quite great place for expressing one's faith... the whole longing for God theme or looking for Him or sharing regrets and asking forgiveness and all this. I mean there might be quite a lot of sorrow in a Christian life (which doesn't necessarily result in Doom Metal I know). I am listening to the album right now and it's like old Candlemass to me (I don't know, maybe it's different, but for some reason I think of Candlemass or Cathedral ). So what difference does it make whether the dudes are Christians or not.

It's music!
BloodTears - 19.12.2010 at 15:20  
Definitely checking this one.
Götter - 19.12.2010 at 19:11  
It's an okay album, but what makes it special is that it's the first veritable example of power ballad doom. Honestly, I thought I was listening to some 80s hard rock band trying their hand at doom. :p
dismaleuphony - 19.12.2010 at 20:58  
Thanks for the review Dane, this is such a solid album from beginning to end, and really succeeds in putting the listener in a certain mood. Each song doesn't just appear, but it develops within the flow of the album. "Dayspring" is an excellent choice, and a great companion to my favorite in "Timeless Hearts" Top notch musicianship, and without a doubt agree on your ten for their performance here.
MetalManic_Joel - 19.12.2010 at 22:27  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 19.12.2010 at 05:04

Btw imo there is not much stoner in here at all. It is all just pure unadultered traditional doom.


Dude, there is tons of stoner here
Ag Fox - 20.12.2010 at 02:06  
Wow. I just checked their myspace after reading Marcel and dismal's Dutch Doom Days article. The production is so cool
Marcel Hubregtse - 20.12.2010 at 07:20  
Written by MetalManic_Joel on 19.12.2010 at 22:27

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 19.12.2010 at 05:04

Btw imo there is not much stoner in here at all. It is all just pure unadultered traditional doom.


Dude, there is tons of stoner here


I beg to differ. Soulful bluesy doom does not equal stoner.
Place Of Skulls clearly plays blues infested traditional doom and not stoner infested.
It's like saying Black Sabbath, Withcfinder General, Saint Vitus, Revelation have loads of stoner in their music, which imo is also ridiculous.
MetalManic_Joel - 20.12.2010 at 18:17  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 20.12.2010 at 07:20

Written by MetalManic_Joel on 19.12.2010 at 22:27

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 19.12.2010 at 05:04

Btw imo there is not much stoner in here at all. It is all just pure unadultered traditional doom.


Dude, there is tons of stoner here


I see your point and actually agree. I never really thought of this but stoner, as do many other genres I suppose, have some deep blues roots.


I beg to differ. Soulful bluesy doom does not equal stoner.
Place Of Skulls clearly plays blues infested traditional doom and not stoner infested.
It's like saying Black Sabbath, Withcfinder General, Saint Vitus, Revelation have loads of stoner in their music, which imo is also ridiculous.
Lit. - 20.12.2010 at 23:05  
Written by Locke on 19.12.2010 at 07:10

Written by Wes on 19.12.2010 at 02:20

Written by Dane Train on 19.12.2010 at 01:07

Written by Warrior_Of_Ice on 19.12.2010 at 00:25

Christian metal, what a fucking joke


Why do you feel that Christian Metal is a joke?


Christian metal IS a joke. This is because any metal that takes on a religious form is screwing it's self. "Anti-christian" is not a religious faith or belief, it is a lack of one and the following criticism towards those who do hold faiths. We all know that holding a belief is different than not holding one. The holder is then responsible for justifying that belief. The same thing happens in metal or any art form. Putting a religious label over any piece of art put's that piece of art into a very special category worthy of any criticism or praise people may throw at it.

Anyway, be it religion or politics (pro or against), it always gets odd when added to art and music.


i no rite? I mean have you seen the Sistine Chapel? Michelangelo was such a tool for letting religion get in the way of his art. Keep that lame shit outta there.


Let the records show that Metal will never embrace religion.
Marcel Hubregtse - 21.12.2010 at 00:26  
Written by Lit. on 20.12.2010 at 23:05

Written by Locke on 19.12.2010 at 07:10

Written by Wes on 19.12.2010 at 02:20

Written by Dane Train on 19.12.2010 at 01:07

Written by Warrior_Of_Ice on 19.12.2010 at 00:25

Christian metal, what a fucking joke




Why do you feel that Christian Metal is a joke?


Christian metal IS a joke. This is because any metal that takes on a religious form is screwing it's self. "Anti-christian" is not a religious faith or belief, it is a lack of one and the following criticism towards those who do hold faiths. We all know that holding a belief is different than not holding one. The holder is then responsible for justifying that belief. The same thing happens in metal or any art form. Putting a religious label over any piece of art put's that piece of art into a very special category worthy of any criticism or praise people may throw at it.

Anyway, be it religion or politics (pro or against), it always gets odd when added to art and music.


i no rite? I mean have you seen the Sistine Chapel? Michelangelo was such a tool for letting religion get in the way of his art. Keep that lame shit outta there.


Let the records show that Metal will never embrace religion.


mmmand yet you have Megadeth as the first band in your fav bandlist
Enemy of Reality - 21.12.2010 at 01:08  
Who gives a rats ass that this is a christian band??
Becoming the Archetype and Mortification are christian and awesome bands.
The problem is that imo this PoS album sucks.
!J.O.O.E.! - 29.12.2010 at 22:01  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 19.12.2010 at 05:04

Btw imo there is not much stoner in here at all. It is all just pure unadultered traditional doom.

I can see why people would think there's stoner in it though, the production and riff sound are seriously hazy at times, not to mention those psychedelic solo's. The vocals and doomier riffs bring it back to closer to trad doom though, I agree.

It's great stuff anyway, no mistake.
Dane Train - 30.12.2010 at 00:19  
Written by Lit. on 20.12.2010 at 23:05

Let the records show that Metal will never embrace religion.


But it has. So I think your understanding of Metal history and culture may be very flawed.
wormdrink414 - 22.02.2011 at 09:22  
Written by Dane Train on 19.12.2010 at 02:30

Written by Warrior_Of_Ice on 19.12.2010 at 02:16

Im not gonna start arguing with you since your listed occupation is: Minister...


Who said anything about an argument? I am just simply interested in your perspective on this subject. I stay away from arguing, it is a negative action and I attempt to only fill my life with positive actions.



Sorry. Have to jump in. You're generalizing. Argument can be very positive. I understand that you are a Christian--all of your arguments are 'destined' to end with the idea of god--but that shouldn't prevent you from seeing the benefits of thinking critically and rationally. To steer away from argument is to invite unreason. But I'm preaching to a minister.

Enjoying the album, by the way.
Troy Killjoy - 22.02.2011 at 16:49  
I think the "Christian metal" aspect of this is totally irrelevant. It's an excellent doom metal album, plain and simple.

Christian metal is a tag, not a genre. It's there to let people know that the band in question's message is themed around Christianity and its message, though it has nothing to do with the actual sound of the band, which is why Place of Skulls and Demon Hunter shouldn't be lumped into the same category.
Slinky666 - 12.12.2011 at 06:34  
Religiously insignificant and devilishly good.

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