Released: 2004, Frontiers Records / Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Amazingly, this Italian band is new to me and even though they have released 5 albums! The band recorded their first demo back in 1991 and since then has done a number of acclaimed albums such as the praised TALES FROM THE NORTH from 1999. The original White Skull lineup was intact until the beginning of 2001 when the original vocalist Federica “Sister” De Boni left the band because of personal problems. A male vocalist (Gustavo “Gus” Gabarro) from Argentina replaced her. At the end of 2001 it was time to get into the studio again and record a new album. It was another theme album by the name “THE DARK AGE”. The theme this time was the Middle Ages and the crimes of the inquisition, it was at this time that Frontiers laid their eyes on them. They got a contract with Frontiers and now this must be the heaviest band that Frontiers have on their label. Some more line up changes came when the guitarist Danilo and the bass player Fabio joined the band. Danilo turned out to be a great help to the bandleader Tony in the lyric department. Now it’s time for their 6th album “THE XII SKULL”.
White Skull sound like power metal with their central focus being in straight heavy metal. The album is a mix of impressive lead vocals, screaming guitars and and good sense of melody. With melodies I mean that they have some really memorable choruses. A few songs are also very melodic and they have used a lot of double bass pedals. On this album they have recorded 11 songs including the intro. The duo of Tony and Danilo has produced the album. The production and sound is quite good and they have created great space for lead vocals and sharp guitar playing. To me, White Skull is not an innovative band and they haven’t created anything new in the power/heavy metal scene with this album. But I shouldn’t say too much because this is my first meeting with this band and I can’t really say if they have developed themselves through the years. They are clearly a bunch of competent musicians and the lead singer has a nice sounding voice. Another thing that doesn’t benefit the band is the hideous cover art - what were they thinking when they decided to go with that?
My favourite tracks are: “THE UNION”, TOP SECRET”, “THE SKULLS”, “MISSING LINK” and “POWER OF BLOOD”.
I really hope that Frontiers has the ability to really promote this band and that they don’t drown in the melodic hard rock flood that is releases every month by Frontiers.