White Skull - _Tales From the North_
(Nuclear Blast, 1999)
by: Aaron McKay (
I like Helloween. This is the reason for the majority of White Skull's three points given on this review. I suppose the remainder could be attributed to the cover art for _Tales From the North_ and, to a much lesser degree, for Nuclear Blast being their label. Very guitar-oriented and "true" metal muscle plowing WS's enterprise forward. Twelve tracks in all on _TFtN_, totalling about fifty-eight minutes of power in, as I mentioned, good ol' Helloween fashion. Minus WS's vocals, one can almost hear influences from old Iron Maiden, a la _Piece of Mind_, maybe. War, oceanic conquest and battle consume nearly all of White Skull's topical escapades. Nice transitions within certain songs are well utilized. For instance, "Gods of the Sea", track four, maintains a complicated musical progression while it seems to "pull back" and center around beautiful guitar work toward the conclusion of the song. The same is almost true with the very next piece, "Viking Tomb", at its beginning. The mighty, addictive and riffy "Kriemhild Story" and "The Killing Queen" provide this release's high-points for me. I can visualize a respected future for White Skull, but until that point, I'd hold off on _Tales From the North_.
(article published 9/12/1999)
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