The Georgian Skull
Mother Armageddon, Healing Apocalypse
posted on 2/2011 By:
Where do I start with this thing? First, Mother Armageddon, Healing Apocalypse is the full-length debut from Canadian stoner/doom band The Georgian Skull. Second, The Georgian Skull’s Myspace page now promotes a band called Gypsy Chief Goliath, and various sources list Mother Armageddon, Healing Apocalypse as a 2008 release, so it seems I might be reviewing a three-year-old album from a dead band. Third, this record is all over the friggin’ place. If I told you that The Georgian Skull sounded like Down, I would be about half right. The other half runs the gamut from grindcore to death metal. If that sounds like a mess, well, it is, but it is rarely dull.
If a band as diverse as The Georgian Skull could be said to have a typical style then “Demon Cripper” would be an example of such. The track alternates between a languid Louisiana limp and up-tempo chugging, before a false ending births a majestic boogie that the band rides to the track's conclusion. Stoner-rock riffs and pentatonic leads are the mainstays of The Georgian Skull's formula. The wild card is what other type(s) of metal the band is going to mix in. The musical variation on Mother Armageddon, Healing Apocalypse is matched by the vocal performance: Singer/guitarist Al “The Yeti” Bones can croon like Phil Anselmo at his most plaintive, as well as bellow, growl, snarl and roar in a manner more befitting his nickname.
The main problem with The Georgian Skull’s approach is that the stoner grooves that seem to be the band’s default mode of operation tend to be the least interesting parts of the music. “Hearts Burning,” for instance, blastbeats its way into a jack-booted stomp that threatens to explode with violence, but instead the band wimps out with a rather uninspiring blues-rock groove to end the song. “The Funeral” fairs somewhat better but, but ultimately meets the same fate. The track begins with a menacing set of riffs that sounds like Incantation crossed with Fear Factory, and the transition to a more rock-oriented chorus works a little better, but the track spits and sputters to a rather unsatisfactory close. “Hunting the Ghost” is one instance where The Georgian Skull gets it mostly right, being a fairly solid Down imitation with some stronger grooves and catchy guitar hooks. But even this track could stand to lose about a minute of relatively pointless noodling.
The tracks “Final Days of Doom” and “Doom Lord Pusher” reveal where The Georgian Skull’s true talent lies, and it is no coincidence that each track has “Doom” in its title. “Final Days of Doom” is a largely instrumental number that rumbles with an ominous early Cathedral vibe, and “Doom Lord Pusher” is a leaden sludge-fest that rides out on a sick riff similar to Down’s “Bury Me in Smoke.” Both tracks benefit greatly from the absence of any significant amount of stoner-rock, and it is on tracks such as these that The Georgian Skull would be best served focusing its efforts.
Ultimately, Mother Armageddon, Healing Apocalypse is an interesting, but unsatisfying listen. The Georgian Skull certainly does not lack for musical ideas, but these often disparate approaches are combined in a seemingly haphazard manner. Most of the compositions contain moments of brilliance, but the band fails to string enough of these together to create a truly great song. Variety may be the spice of life, but focus is the key to great art.
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