|Review: Sleepy Hollow - Skull 13|
Label: Pure Steel Records
Year released: 2012
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: March 3, 2012
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.63/5 (72.5%) (16 Votes)
This is one reunion I didn't expect to see. Sleepy Hollow was put to rest some 20 years ago, and since then vocalist Bob Mitchell has been in various bands such as Vyndykator, Alchemy-X, Sceptor and a re-united Attacker. Nearly ten years ago in an interview Bob told me he'd retire from music at 40, but apparently he changed his mind. Skull 13 certainly makes me grateful for that wise decision.
This is no-nonsense, straightforward old school Heavy Metal with the occasional slight modern vibe that just rips through the speakers from beginning to end. The album opens with two face-smashing tracks that just blow the mind – I could have those two on repeat all day and not get tired of hearing them, and then things get more varied with a few slower tracks toning things down a bit so you don't get exhausted too quickly from insane "air-guitaring" (lots of that on opener "Death of a Horseman"). High-speed in-your-face catchy metal shares the stage with heavier, slower and somewhat melancholic songs in a roller coaster of emotions.
Bob is in top shape here, screaming his vocals like it's the 80's all over again – his raw, raucous screams can be a bit of an acquired taste that fans of more toned-down vocals could have a problem with, though personally I think he sound better here than on his previous endeavours. On the music side the guitars are fucking addictive on this album. There are some downright crazy solos that make me stop whatever I'm doing every time I hear them, and the guitar sound is raw, heavy and fantastically crunchy – this is metal, baby!
Skull 13 is one hell of a return from a criminally overlooked band. It's not perfect, but that only gives the band room to grow. Frankly my main problem with this album is that I can't stop listening to it and I've got all that other stuff piling up... For those bands wondering why I haven't reviewed their album yet... Sleepy Hollow. That's why.
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