Victor Griffin - Late for an Early Grave (Stone Groove Records) 2004
1. Late for an Early Grave (4:09)
2. Never Surrender (3:52)
3. Mainline (3:22)
4. Wolf's Blood (4:41)
5. Vampyre Love (3:4 )
6. Too Late (4:25)
7. Pistonhead (4:59)
8. Feeling of Dread (2:36)
9. The Pusher/Iron Horse (5:31)
10. Ain't It Fun (5:00 )
11. Son of Sam (5:09)
12. Haywire (2:59)
Most metal fans recognize Victor Griffin as the guitarist for the legendary Pentagram. Pentagram is a hallowed name in the halls of classic doom metal. However, unlike many fans I didn't become a fan because of his work with Pentagram. I actually became a fan of Place of Skulls in 2002 with "Nailed" and then started moving backwards into Griffin's catalog.
"Late for an Early Grave" is the first solo outing from Victor and is made up of various demos recorded between 1988 and 1994. Many of these demos turned up on various Pentagram and Place of Skulls recordings. Parts of "Mainline" turned up in "Last Hit" on Place of Skulls' With Vision. Tracks four through six ended up being used on the Pentagram Be Forewarned album, while "Feeling of Dread" turned up on Place of Skulls' Nailed. Likewise, "Pistonhead" became "Never Dies" on Nailed. "Pistonhead" offers some thick, meaty guitar tones, despite being a demo that was never suppose to be released. Tracks 9-11 are covers. "Ain't It Fun" and "Son of Sam" are both covers of The Dead Boys. What really tripped my trigger was the doomy cover of Motorhead's "Iron Horse". Considering this group of songs were recorded at different times, over a number of years, the overall sound levels are surprisingly consistent, thanks to proper mastering. Of course the recording quality wavers a bit from song to song, which is to be expected on a collection of this nature. Other than that minor complain, Late for An Early Grave should be vital listening for fans of Place of Skulls, Pentagram and dooooooom metal.
"Late for an Early Grave" was originally issued on 500 limited edition vinyl copies. The album was later released on CD with two additional tracks, "Pistonhead" and "Haywire". In 2019 Stone Groove Records re-issued Late For An Early Grave on CD and offered some copies autographed by Victor, of which I own one. The track listing, mastering, and booklet are identical to the original release with the exception of the changing out of record company logos.