Revenge of The Skulls – NEPA Weekender Review

Review of Revenge of The Skulls in the Weekender by Mark Uricheck, Weekender Correspondent

Aztec Skulls Revenge Of The Skulls (2012)
Aztec Skulls
Revenge Of The Skulls (2012)

Though they officially formed in 2009, Wilkes-Barre-based Aztec Skulls trace their lineage back a decade. Guitarist/bassist/vocalist Kevin Martin and drummer/vocalist David Pugliese initially hooked up with guitarist/vocalist Billy Brandenburg – the three musicians’ biggest common musical thread being local band The Breeze. Forward a few years, exit Brandenburg, and Martin and Pugliese entertain notions of becoming a cover band. They gravitated towards original music, however, and in 2010, released the full-length effort, “You Can’t Sing.”

Continuing to push against the grain of the disposable, over-produced trend machine, the Skulls released “Revenge of the Skulls,” an album that has foundations within tavern-tested classic rock bravado and ‘70s guitar roadburn perfected by outfits like Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Grand Funk Railroad. Laced with a hint of tipsy quirkiness, the songwriting is tough as nails, with tracks like “Long Road,” a throbbing, mid-tempo AC/DC-meets-Blackfoot amp-melter. “Man Overboard” is similarly rebel-minded, with a gnawing, overdriven blues riff and demonic vocal effect draped over the song’s verses.

Conversely, cuts like “I Won’t Let You Down” hint at country-inspired redemption, while Martin’s slide guitar runs cry electric tears, and the vocals echo “Some Girls”-era Stones roots-honk. The awkwardly melancholic tripped-out “Time Enough” has its head in the clouds, the grainy production fitting the lyrics to a tee. There’s no gloss anywhere to be found with this band. The rough edges are part of the experience, akin to a hard rock take on Springsteen’s “Nebraska” album – simple, raw, direct connection.

Championing their own brand of NEPA roots ‘n’ roll, Aztec Skulls’ honest riffing and earth-bare songwriting should grab some eartime from fans of no-frills rock posturing.

Aztec Skulls ‘Revenge of the Skulls’ Rating: W W W V

Here is the link in the Weekender. Link

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