Skull 13 marks the return of American metal band Sleepy Hollow, twenty years from their disappearance. I'll be straight at the start and say that I'm more than a little ambivalent about this album. Mostly this was a battle between my ears (and mind), trying to discern whether I liked it, and my thumb, wanting to hit the skip button on my iPod Touch to get it over with.
Sleepy Hollow does traditional American heavy metal, maybe with a doomish side. Fundamentally, this aspect is quite good. (Of interest, for this recording, Mike LePond (Symphony X) was the bass player.) Then there's veteran Bob Mitchell on microphone. By definition he's a metal singer or, better, vocalist. Whether he can actually sing metal is anyone guess, especially when listening to the first five songs. Generally, he's just wailing and screaming his way through songs; it's nearly horrible. With Inquisition he mellows, then on Epic (The Legend Retold) you discover he actually has a favorable voice and can sing. From here to the end it's a generally unpleasing mixture of screaming and singing. Mostly, I fast-forwarded through his vocals on nearly every song to get a sense of the heavy metal. While Sleepy Hollow has some degree of cult status, and deserves recognition, I'll take a pass on the comeback album.
Skull 13 marks the return of Sleepy Hollow, an American traditional heavy metal of some cult fame; the album not so much.
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