Place of Skulls
Place of Skulls is a doom band formed by Pentagram guitarist Victor Griffin.

The Fall Place of Skulls - The Fall (Southern Lord) 2001

1. "The Fall"
2. "Evil Seed" [live]

"The Fall" is a rare, limited addition 7" vinyl collector's single. It features the single "The Fall" as well as a live cover of Pentagram's "Evil Seed". My copy is autographed in silver Sharpee by the entire band.

Metal Church Place of Skulls - Nailed (Southern Lord) 2002

1. "The Fall" (4:39)
2. "Never Die" (4:30)
3. "Dead" (5:19)
4. "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (4:40)
5. "Feeling of Dread" (2:32)
6. "..." (2:20)
7. "Love She Gave" (5:13)
8. "Return" (4:34)
9. "Song of Solomon" (5:32)


Victor Griffin and fellow doomster Randy Michaud of Troglodyte Dawn.

Wow! I haven't heard doom this good since the early days of Trouble, Saint Vitas and Candlemass. Place of Skulls is the new band of Pentagram guitarist Victor Griffin. (Victor was also the founder of Deathrow.) Their style is totally retro-doom metal sounding much like Green's former band and Candlemass. Place of Skulls mix slow, crunchy rhythms with haunting, mid-range, clean vocals. Griffin's massive Tony Iommi-style guitar riffs are heavy and soulful. The slow heavy sludge is made even more interesting by lyrics that are focused on spirituality. Unlike Candlemass or Pentgram, however, Place of Skulls explores less dark areas and takes a strong Christian approach. The songs are not cliché as some might assume but are actually very intelligent offering a message of hope and warning, not unlike fellow doom metallers Last Chapter. There is an unlikely cover in the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" that actually works better than expected. I am pleasantly surprised by this disc. Fans of Last Chapter, Candlemass or Pentagram should be ecstatic by Victor Griffin's new band. Here's hoping that they release more albums like this.

Hello Scott,
Glad you like the cd! Song six doesn't really have a title. It was actually the second half of a song called "Sinister" which I wrote and recorded on the first
Pentagram album in 1984. It's always been one of my favorite parts so I wanted to include it on "Nailed". Thanks for the review also. I'll get it posted on our site asap.
Take care and God bless brother,
Victor Griffin

Place of Skulls - With Vision (Southern Lord) 2003

1. "Last Hit" (3:42)
2. "With Vision" (6:08)
3. "Long Lost Grave" (5:55)
4. "Nothing Changes" (5:02)
5. "Dimensional Sojourn" (2:49)
6. "In Rest" [instrumental] (1:22)
7. "Silver Cord Breaks" (5:23)
8. "Willfully Blind" (3:08)
9. "Dissonant Dissident" [instrumental] (1:53)
10. "The Monster" (5:01)
11. "The Watchers" (4:38)
12. "Lost" (5:36)

Victor Griffin
Victor Griffin
photo by Randy Michaud

Place of Skull are absolutely one of the finest doom bands ever. I know that is a big claim, but whenever I get a new Place of Skulls CD it absolutely dominates my CD player. "With Vision" is no less the case. One of the problems I find with some doom releases is that the songs tend to all be slow, all sound the same and all just run together with little memorable about them. That is not the case here at all. Victor Griffin knows how to write a song that is not only slow, dark and heavy, but also incorporates a good hook. On top of this, imagine if the legendary Wino of Saint Vitus fame were added to the equation. Yes, this is a legendary release. Contrary to the popular trends in music, this CD is chock full of meaty, extended guitar jams as well. "With Vision" opens strong with one of the CDs most powerful cuts "With Vision". However, I must confess that "The Monster" gets my vote for the albums most powerful track. That is not to say the rest of the CD pales in comparison however. The short instrumental intro "In Rest" is a cool, experimental song with droning feedback. This song acts as an intro to the infectious "Silver Chord Breaks", a song that expresses Victor's hopes for the future. As with "Nailed" the lyrics poetically speak of faith and hope. This may throw some doom fans for a loop as most bands of this nature are much darker lyrically. I should also mention that the guitars on this CD are thick and crunchy, adding to the appeal of an already excellent album. In the words of a good friend of mine, "DOOM baby! Friggin' DOOM!!"

Love Through Blood Place of Skulls - Love Through Blood (Outlaw Recordings) 2005

1. "Consuming Fire" (4:11)
2. "Cornerstone" (5:48)
3. "Days of Trouble" (5:07)
4. "Blood of Jesus" (4:11)

Love Through Blood EP
Place of Skulls - Love Through Blood 10" vinyl.

"Love Through Blood" is possibly the last release from Place of Skulls. It is a limited edition of 1000 pressing and was only available through the band or through Outlaw Recordings' website. The four songs contained herein continue in the slow, doomy mood of past releases. However, the lyrics on this CD are powerful. They will have some mocking in scorn, while others it will bring to tears and yet others like myself will just sit back, smile and thank the Lord for his blessings. You don't hear lyrics like this much anymore as most bands seem worried about being pegged as a "Christian" band, as if that is some sort of black mark. Well, Victor and Co. don't seem concerned with pleasing the naysayers, but here are concerned with giving praise to whom praise is due. Awesome! Apparently these songs aren't actually new. Victor explains on Outlaw's web site in detail about this EP as well as some experiences they have encountered. I thought this interesting enought to include below. In the meantime, get this CD before it's gone.

Finally "Love Through Blood" sees the light of day. We¹ve had these songs on the shelf for close to 5 years. After several attempts to get them released on various labels, Outlaw Recordings delivers! Which is no small decision in my opinion. In this world of so-called tolerance and "believe what you want as long as you agree with me" attitude, "Love Through Blood" will probably rattle some nerves. Unquestionably, the lyrics will be controversial in the ears of some, but what remains is the same heavy vibe that Place of Skulls and bands from my past have all observed.

Southernlord Recordings chose not to release these songs in their original format as part of the ³Nailed² cd. Since the lyrics didn¹t fit the Southernlord image, it was requested they not be included and suggested that
"Nailed" be released as a 6-song EP. This was unacceptable to me and so we went back to the studio to record "Dead", "Love She Gave", and The Animals cover "Don¹t Let Me Be Misunderstood" to take their place.

After the eventual release of ³Nailed², I heard several criticisms that being right around 40 minutes in length, it was too short for a CD. Its original running time would¹ve been closer to 45 or 50 minutes had the track
listing not been changed. But in hindsight, I¹m glad things happened the way they did. Southernlord took a chance on us when most other labels wouldn¹t touch it. I will always appreciate that.

Back then; there was plenty of doubt and controversy surrounding the "image" of Place of Skulls. Many people were completely put off by what they were classifying a "Christian rock band" before they even heard us. This was all based on hearsay and rumuors. Although I don¹t deny my spiritual beliefs, I never considered nor desired that Place of Skulls be marketed as a Christian rock band. I naively expected that the followers of this genre would be opened minded enough to accept us as a heavy band with some spiritually minded lyrics. I must say that I was caught somewhat offguard by the backlash we experienced.

So my point beingSwith the intense and uncompromising lyrical content of the 4 songs on this EP, it¹s probably a good thing they were not included on "Nailed". If they had been, it no doubt would¹ve fueled the sentiments of the naysayers even more.

As a result of the past several years of touring and recording, I believe we have broken down some of those walls. Perhaps they were a guard against what some may have thought would be an onslaught of roselytizing by a dreaded "Christian rock band". Yes, there are definite beliefs expressed in some of the lyrics. But not in the format of preaching or trying to persuade others to believe as me. That¹s just not my style.

So having said all that, I want to thank all of our fans who have been there from the beginningSand also, to those of you who at some point, realized that Place of Skulls was a band worth checking out after all. I sincerely hope you all will enjoy this EP.

I will finally say this about some of the lyrics you¹ll hear on "Love Through Blood". They are about as up-front and uncompromising in expression on certain spiritual issues as you can get. I ask that this not put you off. These are simply my thoughts and my feelings being worn on my sleeve. That is not to assume or suggest that you are wrong in your own personal beliefs, only that as humans with our own free wills, we have the
intelligence and right to choose. We should simply be able to do that and express it if we desire without some kind of heavy shit coming down on our heads.

As for the recent break-up of the band, it pains me to have gone in that direction and was not an easy decision. But considering the on-going line-up changes and personal issues among band members, for now it seems like the right decision. "Love Through Blood" may or may not be the final release from Place of Skulls. February 18th 2005 may or may not be the final live performance for Place of Skulls. I choose to leave those doors open.

Regardless, thanks for the ride!
Victor Griffin
Feb, 2005

Black Is Never Far Place Of Skulls - The Black Is Never Far (Exile On Mainstream) 2006

1. Prisoner's Creed (2:51)
2. Sense Of Divinity (4:13)
3. Darkest Hour (6:00)
4. Interlude (:10)
5. Apart From Me (4:41)
6. The Black Is Never Far (6:02)
7. We The Unrighteous (2:38)
8. Interlude (:13)
9. Masters Of Jest (4:10)
10. Interlude (:13)
11. Lookin' For A Reason (6:27)
12. Relentless (4:28)
13. Changed Heart (3:40)
Black Is Never Far
Black Is Never Far 12" vinyl

I was pretty bummed when I heard that Place of Skulls was doing their final show in Tennessee a couple years ago. They are, after all, one of the finest traditional doom bands around. Fortunately a friend who went to the show came back with a bit of hope. Perhaps the band was not breaking up. Well, this turned out to be the case and "The Black in Never Far" continues with the dooooooom! Place of Skull's third full length album fuses their traditional doom with a bit of stoner groove and a whole lot of attitude. The disc has a big sound as well. There is just no denying those massive, plodding riffs that come across as a wall of sound. The production works really well here right down to the fat drum tones and ultra-heavy guitar tones.

The opening track "Prisoner's Creed" starts things off on a faster pace than what I expected. However, the very next song backs the speed back down and offers up a huge wall of groove. "Darkest Hour" starts off with some haunting, acoustic guitars and builds up to yet another heavy monster. This song has a dark yet oddly romantic feel to it, if that makes sense. "Apart from Me" reminds me of some of those huge retro-grooves that made Trouble so popular in the 90's. "The Black Is Never Far" has an almost Southern vibe to it. "Lookin' For A Reason" has a definite 1970's influence, mixing blues into the mix. The melodic opening, which features a saxaphone is brilliant, albeit short, before opening into what I can only describe as a doom-blues jam that is very Black Sabbath inspired. "Relentless" is an old Pentagram song reworked. This is probably Place of Skulls most diverse album and will most likely make my Top 10 albums of the year. I think it has the potential to reach outside the small doom underground and reach many fans of heavy metal.

As a Dog Returns... Place of Skulls - As a Dog Returns (Giddy Up!) 2010

1.      The Maker (5:05)
2.      Breath of Life (6:08)
3.      Though He Slay Me (4:52)
4.      Psalms (5:29)
5.      Dayspring (9:55)
6.      Timeless Hearts (7:44)
7.      He's God (4:54)
8.      Desperation (5:34)
9.      As A Dog Returns (5:28)

It's been a while since the last Place of Skulls album. That albums was bit dark and ominous for Place of Skulls. With "As A Dog Returns" Victor Griffin returns with what sounds like it could have been the follow-up to "With Vision". The album starts off with a song that is as heavy as truck transporting steel girders charging down the freeway. In a word, HEAVY! "The Maker" sports a massive, plodding riff that come across as a wall of sound. What else would anyone expect for a song titled "The Maker"? The whole album is heavy, but moody with a big 70's vibe. There is a lot of those crunchy Sabbath-inspired riffs, but there are also some sweeping acoustic passages as well and the whole album comes off as rather reverent. I especially like the deep vibe of songs like the title track and especially "Timeless Hearts". The lyrics are poetic and obviously Christian based, but I am sure any music fan could enjoy this album. "Into the sunrise where time heals wounds, Where it's never too late and never too soon, through all of our tears of sadness and distress, Our dream still lives in a heart that's timeless". Simply outstanding!  "Desperation" is a Steppenwolf cover that could easily be a Place of Skulls original, as performed here. Actually, I didn't even snap that it was a cover until I peaked at the line notes and noticed that that writer of the song was John Kay. As was the case of the band's last release, the production is thick and heavy, right down to the fat drum tones and buzz-saw guitar tones.

Related Collections:
Victor Griffin | Pentagram | Saint Vitus | In-Graved

Back to Index