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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Band Of Skulls, the heavy riff-rockers from Southampton, released their third album, Himalayan, in 2014. It takes the sound of their previous two long-players and soups it up a little with slicker production and an overall higher aggregate tempo. The huge, stomping Led Zep riffs haven't disappeared, they've simply been incorporated into a slightly more mainstream, higher-octane sound. In my opinion, the slight changes that they have incorporated onto this album were probably needed. As brilliant as Baby Darling Doll Face and Sweet Sour were, there was a danger that if the trio returned with a third album plying exactly the same wares as before then the fan base would have been a touch bored but, instead, Band Of Skulls have evolved without totally killing their core sound and the musical values which made people love them so much in the first place. This album still sounds unmistakeably like Band Of Skulls, but with a new outfit and a bit of a snazzy haircut. It's like they've been listening to a bit of Black Keys, Kings of Leon, Queens Of The Stone Age and Kasabian (yes, seriously, give Brothers And Sisters a listen) to give them inspiration as to where they should be aiming for next and it has paid dividends.

Himalayan is an album that sounds better and better the more you play it, especially when you start noticing the finer details behind the big, blustery hooks and there are so many top notch tracks here to sink your teeth into. Opening track, Asleep At The Wheel boasts a superb, stomping riff-based chorus, the title track sounds like a massive hit in waiting and is the kind of pile-driving song that makes your body move along with it involuntarily and Hoochie Coochie thunders along at full pelt, boasting a chorus bolstered by a brilliantly sleazy, twisting riff. The up-tempo indie-ballad Nightmares is a real change of pace and the contrast between the edgy verse and the grandiose, epic feel of the chorus works effectively. I Guess I Know You Fairly Well is another big song and one that will keep fans of the earlier material happy and You Are All That I Am Not threatens to be a little too ordinary until the spine-tingling instrumental break which is something very special indeed. Final track, Get Yourself Together, ends the album with a big, expansive, shimmering character, feeling more like the product of a nineties indie band than the brash, White Stripes-aping purveyors of raw rock riffs they've established themselves as, over their last couple of releases.

To surmise, this is a rather impressive and extremely enjoyable collection of songs and, although not every track is genius-level, there's nothing on Himalayan that makes me want to reach for the skip button. Yes, there is a slightly more commercial sheen to the album than their previous releases and the sparse, bombastic riffs are a little more cleverly disguised, but the big guitar hooks are still there and the material, rather than dumbing down for a wider audience, actually has a little more depth and dimension. It is simply different rather than better, but, without this evolution of their sound, I believe there would be far more critics of them if they'd stood still than what we have here, a talented trio having the courage and ability to fully explore and realise their creative range. All-in-all, Himalayan lives up to its name: rock on an epic scale.
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on 9 July 2014
Saw a small bit of their performance at this year's Glastonbury and liked them, so bought the latest album to try. Liked it immediately - great hooks, riffs and a bit of heaviness. If you like the Black Keys, White Stripes, plus some 80s indie influences, you should like this.
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on 5 April 2014
Went to see BOS in Brighton in a tiny venue, could not have been more blown away.

As for this album, there is no disappointment.

Still the same raw blues rock sound while refined, the urge to skip a filler track as you do get on most albums is not there. Only given it one listen and it is already excellent, and will grow on me as is normally case.

Will love to see them live again once more.

Thank you BOS for not letting rock and roll die (cheesy but true statement)
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on 5 June 2014
Being a fan of band of skulls I was really looking forward to this release... B
It is a good listen but doesn't give me anything more than the last 2 albums
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on 9 July 2014
Bold, heavy, rock at it's best. Love the mixture of funky, melodic and heavy tracks. Good one guys! :)
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on 31 March 2014
Definitely more of a 70s vibe with this album, veering into glam rock in places and definite wafts of Hendrix in others but still very much the unique Band of Skulls sound fans have come to know and love. As enjoyable to hear the studio versions as it was to hear them preview these tracks live last week at the Shepherds Bush Empire. Keep up the rockin work guys, you're fabulous.
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on 1 April 2014
I'm a huge fan of the previous two albums, since buying them I've seen them live three times. Brilliant, original, yet strangely familiar sound. If you're into your rock then this is a must have.
The thing that I find most impressive is that all three of their albums hold up as well as the last, they all have a seemingly equal number of good tracks.
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on 2 June 2014
Another great album. Band Of Skulls have a very fresh approach to rock music. In some parts I hear Queens of the Stone Age melodies, which is never a bad thing! The album winds down quite quick though - very catchy songs are the start, interesting in the middle and slower at the end. This album (like the first) will dominate my CD player in the car.
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on 22 May 2014
Baby Darling... was a stunning debut by a band, and on album 3 their sound keeps adding new textures. Sweet Sour was great, and this is too. Still expect some BIG riffs (aaahhh.... Asleep at the Wheel....) but I also hear some Hendrix, Heart etc. Seems their star is on the rise with festival appearances this year. Grab this then go see live!
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on 1 April 2014
A brilliant album, full of excellent riffs, pounding drums and sharp, hypnotic vocals! First listen gives a great impression, which seems to grow and grow.

Highlights of the album: Nightmares and Hoochy Coochy!

An essential album for rock fans!
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