Here’s an odd release. Nowhere on the CD or covers is the name Skullhead actually written. The spine only says Ragnorok and Victory. But of course, this is an expanded CD version of Skullhead’s Victory Or Valhalla mini-LP on Rebelles Européens. One reason I’ve heard for this is that supposedly ISD Records released this CD without permission from the band. Who knows.
Apart from the five tracks that constitute the original mini-LP, there are 11 additional tracks on the CD, culled from various singles and split releases from the 80’s. Therefore, even if one happens to own the original release, this is a more than worthwhile addition to any collection.
Victory Or Valhalla, which would be the last release by Skullhead before reforming in 2001 or thereabout, is also the best Skullhead material ever. Tightly played, reasonably well produced and equipped with some absolutely killer songs. And vocalist Kev Turner never sounded better! Where Odin’s Law falls short just because of mediocre songs, Victory Or Valhalla is basically 100% RAC classics. The song Wish The Lads Were Here – ironically originally demoed by Red London, a band with polar opposite political views – is the iconic track, but none of the others are any worse. Lyrically too Kev Turner is at his best, writing lyrics that refuse to compromise, but are still far from simplistic hatemongering or childish provocation. It’s a shame this turned out to be the final release, because to me it sounds like Skullhead had truly found their own thing here, with straightforward Oi!-based RAC that still has a definite epic edge to it.
The tracks from older releases are something of a mixed bag. Look Ahead and Rock Band are absolute classics, truly impressive tracks, whilst others such as Gillbridge Blues and Yuletide, and the mandatory awkward RAC-ballad Memories, aren’t all that good. Still, most of these tracks are at least as good if not better than, say, what’s on Odin’s Law; classic RAC with a hard edge and none of that bluesy southern rock element that Brutal Attack and Skrewdriver, and even No Remorse on occasion toyed with.
If you feel you only need one Skullhead album in your collection, then without a doubt, this is it.