After having played a major role in the rebirth of Pentagram, VG left the band last year and also decided to end Place Of Skulls, all this with the fine idea to start a new fresh project where he would definitely master everything from the composition, steadiness of the line-up (which takes form it seems), to the slightest detail of this beautiful booklet (containing lots of b&w photos of various caracters from the first part of last century)... A solo album had already been released about 10 years ago, consisting in old songs from the 80's, it gave a fair idea at that time of what the guy was able to do by himself for himself without being subject to the various behavioral wanderings of his respective acolytes.
Time has finally done its effect on his various implications and listening this new project and album there's a palpable feeling that this time is the right one which is a real bonus for an already faultless performance !
In todays scene there's thousands of guys who got the tone with their gear but just a few dozens who got it in their fingers and Victor Griffin is one the most respectable of those - regarding the (American) Doom style and it's awesome to listen some new fresh stuff from him, supported by a bunch of experimented like-minded mates. Griffin is singing and naturally playing guitar on all songs, just as Pete 'Minessota' Campbell (Sixty Watt Shaman, P.o.S.) on drums, the rest is a bit more complicated...
Indeed, the place of bassist being undefined for this recording, it gives the occasion to listen a fine team on this instrument with Guy Pinhas (Goatsnake), Greg Turley( P.o.S., Pentagram), Ron Holzner (Trouble, Earthen Grave), Marty Svaney (Pentagram, The Hounds of Hasselvender) and even Anne Griffin - Victor's wife- on the opener "Digital Critic"; if that wasn't enough, we've got here too Jeff Olson (Trouble, Retro Grave) and Mike Puleo(Orodruin) as additional guests on keyboards !!!
Is this a solo album with prestigious guest-friends ? an all star-band with an uncertain future ? Who knows after all, the most important is that it's filled with passion and talent, let's hope its creator is resolutely looking at a sustainable and promising future...
I would simply add that the rest doesn't need any particular descriptions ! absolutely no disappointment, a masterful album full of Victor blazing riffage, simple yet catchy melodies, bluesy grooves, definitely where all things seem to fell naturally into place. Basically you won't find many differences from what Victor has brillantly delivered with Place Of Skulls over the past 12 years, but I think there's some more spice in the sauce, more audacious, while the christian faith is still something that sweats from some of Victor's prophetic lyrics and brings along his usual unique brightness to zenith.
On a couple of songs like "Digital Critic", "What If..." or "Thorn In The Flesh", there's a sliglhty wilder taste in the intensity of the guitar. Victor often refers to Jimmy Hendrix and Steppenwolf, plus he's a fanatic biker, all this can be felt here, just as the diveristy of guest caracters gives a large pannel of textures rythmically.
Finally, the regular introduction of Hammond organ is another major distinctive force of creativity within IN-GRAVED sound, sensitive and psyched-out, it's in no case here to darken the tone... harmony is simply magnified, just play the video of "Thorn In..." and you'll fall under the spiritual charm of their sound !!!
This striking album ends on a little surprising straight-Rock song "Never Surrender, the kind of song that would be perfect for a moovie soundtrack or a serie like "Shameless"... a bit surprising but not unpleasant at all, the deal is fully completed for a long time anyway ! Another fantastic release from Svart rds... If you're going to see them on one of their forthcoming European dates, you absolutely need to save a dozen of Euros to buy this album that will help to remind all the fantastic moments you gonna live when they'll be on stage... shame on me I'm gonna see dozens of bands within the next two months but they won't be on my list ! In any case, for anyone into (American) Doom/Heavy Rock of the highest order, this album will fill you with happiness, freedom and welfare, like a life-buoy in those sinister times :)