1. Digital Critic (4:29)
2. What If... (5:05)
3. Late For An Early Grave (4:39)
4. Fading Flower (6:14)
5. Thorn In The Flesh (5:29)
6. Teacher (4:02)
7. Love Song For The Dying (6:48)
8. Never Surrender (4:03)
Apparently guitarist/vocalist Victor Griffin has once again severing his ties to American doom legends Pentagram and also laid his band Place of Skulls to rest in order to form his newest project, In~Graved (or Victor Griffin's In~Graved). Recording this first project along with Griffin is drummer "Minnesota" Pete Campbell (also Place of Skulls
) and a host of bass players. Among the guests are Guy Pinhas (The Obsessed
), Ron Holzner (Trouble
), Greg Turley (Place of Skulls
), Dan Lively (Sweet Cicada
), Marty Swaney (Death Row
) and even Victor's own wife, Anne Griffin contributing to bass guitar. As well Trouble‘s Jeff Oly Olson and Orodruin‘s Mike Puleo play keyboard/organ.
With In~Graved Victor attempts to leave behind the strict confines of 'doom' yet he doesn't stray too far from what fans have come to expect from him. As would be expected we get Griffin's beefy, heavy guitar tone on his signature riffs and guitar solos. As well, he carries over his passion and faith from Place of Skulls
, as well as his soulful vocals. What he delivers is an album that is heavily influenced by the heavy rockers of the 1970's. Bands like Uriah Heep
and Deep Purple
are surely a big influence on Griffin's sound here as he mixes those heavy riffs with what sounds like a classic Hammond organ.
"Digital Critic" is a strong opener with it's chugging riff and organ work. The song is a harsh indictment of those who criticize an artist's work on the internet while hiding behind the anonymity of their keyboard. The song almost seamlessly leads into a mid-paced groove that most certainly would have worked well in Place of Skulls. The song is perhaps one of Griffin's most evangelistic songs, with the lyrics asking the question of the possibility of an afterlife and what will happen if one decides to ignore that possiblity. The song also hints at the meaninglessness of a life that just ends when it’s over. The song also sports a wicked guitar solo with a big Tony Iommi
"Late to an Early Grave" is a reworking of the title track of Victor's forgotten solo album. Album closer "Never Surrender," which closes out the record also appeared on that release. Both songs sound fuller here, thanks to a beefy production and those swirling keyboards. "Fading Flower" stands in contrast, the song being a semi-ballad heavy on the organ. The song is the second longest on the album, clocking in as just over six minutes. "Love Song for the Dying" is the other lengthy song on that album, clocking in at just under seven minutes. This song returns to the heavier guitar tones but again is saturated in those 70's-sounding keyboards, making it clear why In~Graved isn't just Place of Skulls with a different name. "Teacher" is a Jethro Tull
cover, of which Griffin uses no flutes, but is also build around the heavy guitars and organs. The aforementioned "Never Surrender" is an up-beat hard rock song that closes out the LP.
Being a huge fan of Place of Skulls
, I am disappointed that there will be no further releases from that band. However, Victor Griffin’s In~Graved is a fine substitution. There is just enough of that Place of Skulls
sound to please fans but it's different enough to warrant the name change.
The green vinyl release of "In~Graved" came with a free digital download of the album.