Album Review: Band Of Skulls – ‘Himalayan’

Band-Of-Skulls-Himalayan-album-coverThe title of Southampton rockers Band Of Skulls’ third album is a decent starting point to describing the sound on show here. ‘Himalayan’: the riffs are towering and the rhythm section is colossal.

Kicking off with ‘Asleep at the Wheel’, the lead single, guitarist and vocalist Russell Marsden howls, “Where we are going is anyone’s guess!”, before laying down a monstrous Led-Zep style guitar riff. Title track ‘Himalayan’ showcases one of the band’s great strengths in Marsden and bassist/vocalist Emma Richardson’s intertwining vocals, with ghostly harmonies slipping over one another in the chorus to a hip-shaking beat, giving way for a screeching solo from Marsden mid-song.

Fourth song ‘Cold Sweat’ is the first time the pace drops, and also Richardson’s first chance to take centre stage with a lead vocal. The track itself is a wistful lament to a love lost, “You’ve got me yearning like never before”, which unfurls into a haunting song, with the strings accompanying the band giving an added depth.

Next up, ‘Nightmares’ is a prime example of what Band of Skulls can do wonderfully; songs that lilt along on an instrumental groove then give way to a stellar vocal hook, the male/female harmonies once again complementing each other.

‘You Are All That I Am Not’ provides the albums second slow burner and finds Marsden in pensive mood, “With all your bridges burned, tell me what you learned“. Matt Hayward’s cascading drums then tumble the band into a honey-coated chorus.

‘Toreador’ and ‘Heaven’s Key’ see the vocalists again swapping the microphone, Marsden’s latter effort hitting the harder of the two, before the album winds down with the first appearance of acoustic guitar on “Get Yourself Together” which interestingly features a weird oscillating synthesizer where one might expect to hear the string section come in.

Himalayan is a record that builds on the band’s previous efforts while introducing some new ideas to their songwriting and fresh nuances to their musical palette. Their spot-on balancing act of heavy instrumentals with memorable melodies is further proof that Band of Skulls are growing stronger with each release. ​



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