Personnel: Eric Wagner-vox, Dave Snyder-guitar/drums, Chuck Robinson-guitar, Sean McAllister-bass
This album works on two levels. First, it’s a nice slab of classic doom metal crafted by one of that genre’s true greats. Eric Wagner was the long time front man of Trouble and later Trouble offshoot, The Skull. His world weary voice was one of those that just got better with age. His voice conveyed a life thoroughly lived. Second, this ended up being a posthumous release. He passed away in 2021 due to complications after contracting Covid. So, in retrospect, this became the very definition of a poignant release. Fittingly, he went out with a very solid release and one that reflects nicely on his passing. Lyrically, there is a lot of contemplation of death and what comes after. I hope that he’s found peace on the other side.
4.5 flip flops out of 5
The list so far:
9. Eric Wagner-In The Lonely Light of Mourning 10. SpiritWorld-Deathwestern 11. Psycroptic-Divine Council 12. My Diligence-The Shape, Form and Power 13. Blind Guardian-The God Machine 14. Ghost-Impera 15. Jungle Rot-A Call To Arms 16. High Command-Eclipse of the Dual Moons 17. Soilwork-Overgivenheten 18. Messa-Close 19. Ty Tabor-Shades 20. Lamb of God-Omens
And we lose another one. This one as a direct hit from the covid pandemic. Wagner was the longtime vocalist for doom pioneer band Trouble and subsequent band, The Skull, which more or less felt like a continuation of his work in Trouble. Dude was probably as well-known for his Catholic beliefs and spiritually inspired lyrics as he was for his tortured sounding wail. His voice was instrumental to the Trouble sound and there weren’t really any comparable singers from that time that captured the anguish that he brought to the mic. As Wagner aged, his vocal style became less reliant on the high register he was known for the 80s and he seemed to fall into a more relaxed and natural delivery. In many respects, his embrace of this style in his older years reminds me a lot of how Robert Plant has aged (hell, they even look a lot alike in their old age). It was as if he simply embraced the ravages of age and the style of vocals he brought to The Skull just worked. Wagner was a unique voice and another that will be missed. I’ll admit that I was a bit late to the Trouble bandwagon and never got to see them play live, but I did get to see Wagner with The Skull before the pandemic shut everything down. I had planned on seeing them at what would have been one of his last shows when they played in Austin back on Aug. 8. I ended up passing due to the covid Delta surge and the fact that the show was taking place in a very small club. Now, I kind of wish I had just risked it to see him play one last time. But, hell, who knows…he may have contracted the infection at the Austin show. Just sad at any rate.