Place of Skulls
Place of Skulls.
Background information
Origin Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Genres Doom Metal
Years active 2000 - Present
Labels Southern Lord Records, Stone Groove Records, Exile on Mainstream
Associated acts Pentagram, Death Row, Trouble, The Obsessed, Cathedral, Revelation, The Mighty Nimbus, In-Graved, Pistonhead, Death Row Assembly
Website Facebook
Current members Victor Griffin
Lee Abney
Dan Lively
Russell Lee Padgett
Place of Skulls are a doom metal band from Knoxville, Tennessee. Active since 2000, the band is known for being the main project of guitarist Victor Griffin some time after his departure (at the time) from Pentagram. The musical themes are based heavily in life struggles and Christianity, a reflection of Griffin's conversion as a Born Again Christian in the 1990s.

The band's name is a location described in The Bible. Place of Skulls was a hillside also known as Golgotha, which is the Hebrew translation. It was a place where crucifixions took place, including that of Jesus.[1]


Place of Skulls was formed in 2000 by Victor Griffin, Tim Tomaselli and Lee Abney, mainly to "pass the torch" of doom metal from bands like Pentagram and Death Row. After recording a series of demos the band would record their debut album with an intent of releasing it on Man's Ruin Records by suggestion of Guy Pinhas to the label. However, Man's Ruin would close in 2001 but Pinhas would suggest the album to Southern Lord Records and thus Nailed would be released on the label in 2002. A tour with Spirit Caravan (Notably their last tour until their reunion.) would follow around the same time. Lee Abney would leave the band for personal reasons afterwards.

Not long after Scott Weinrich was in talks with the band about a possible collaboration, leading to Wino joining the band to work on the band's second album. Ron Holzner would attempt to join on bass but depart due to living in Chicago, far away from the band at the time so Greg Turley would take his place as bassist in these sessions. With Vision would be released in 2003 and labeled as a veritable doom supergroup:

“A word from the Lord: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!!? I can't sufficiently express how incredible this news is! THE TWO most incredible doom-metal guitar players in one band? UNBELIEVABLE! We will bring you the results of this incredible union AS SOON AS WE CAN!! Stay tuned for more info and hopefully downloads!!! LET THERE BE DOOM!!!”
— Greg Anderson, Southern Lord [2]

While the four-piece lineup had plans at some point to tour, it ended up not being the case. Due to living in different states (Wino in Washington/Maryland and Griffin in Tennnessee, notably this was also a factor behind Holzner's departure) and clashing religious beliefs, Wino would depart the band to concentrate on The Hidden Hand.

“Well brothers and sisters, time for another look into our world of rock `n` roll...the way we see it. A year and a half ago, armed with an idea to bring together our styles and imagery to a single musical force, we laid down the groundwork for what we envisioned to be (and dubbed by the press) a super-group of doom metal. Together, we`ve stuck it out despite the pressure and stress of being in a band with members living in different states... not really the small feat it appears on the surface. We`ve now come to an amicable and agreed decision that to continue this arrangement is no longer feasible. The travel to and fro has become more of a burden than we probably admitted to ourselves in the beginning.and scheduling our personal responsibilities and commitments to an ever-changing calendar is just no longer worth it. So as of now, Place of Skulls will continue onward with Victor, Tim, & Dennis, while Wino focuses solely on The Hidden Hand.

We especially regret the disappointment that some of you may feel about this decision. We know from your feedback that a lot of anticipation was building for a tour of live performances. Again, we truly regret that this can`t happen. Never the less, we`re very thankful to have "With Vision" as a result of this relatively short working relationship. We feel confident and appreciative that we succeeded in bringing you a classic album that will leave it`s mark.

The shows that are already confirmed for PoS, as well as international tour plans, will go ahead as scheduled but without Wino.

From hearsay and offhand remarks, we know there`s a number of you who`ve "straddled the fence" from the beginning where Place of Skulls is concerned. We understand this. Sometimes we may come from a place or point of view that clashes with many of your own philosophies. That same backlash has been felt with The Hidden Hand. None of us are trying to push agenda`s here.politics and religions are the never-ending arguments that will never be 100% solved in this life. We propose an agreement to disagree where it may apply, and lets get on together with the enjoyment of some heavy ass music.

We`ve gained many new fans since the release of "With Vision", and we (Place of Skulls & The Hidden Hand) hope you`ll all stick around for the next chapter.

We speak with reciprocating respect and admiration for one another, and our respective bands, in saying our friendships remain strong and intact. Our only regret is that we won`t be able to fulfill the expectations of what could have been.


Victor, Wino, Tim, & Dennis”

— Place of Skulls, Official Statement [3]

The band would continue on with bassist Dennis Cornelius and drummer Pete Campbell[4], eventually releasing an EP entitled Love Through Blood in 2005 (Outtakes from the Nailed sessions) before disbanding for a short time.[5] However the band would reform and release another full-length in The Black Is Never Far in 2006. Around this time Pete Campbell would take over on drums for a tour of Europe in 2004 before Tomaselli would return. The band would notably mainly play handful's of shows in the United States and tour Europe fairly frequently. Dennis Cornelius would depart from the band to move back to Oklahoma with original bassist Lee Abney returning to the band.

In 2010, the band would release their fourth album As A Dog Returns and follow up with short tours in the United States along with a 2011 European tour, including a date at Roadburn Festival that year.[6] Around the same time of releasing As A Dog Returns, Victor Griffin would rejoin Pentagram from 2010 - 2012 and again from 2014 - 2017.

Place of Skulls would appear at the 2016 edition of The Maryland Doom Fest along with a short tour that year, followed by a tour of Europe with Dan Lively on bass. The band's discography (Along with In-Graved, now labeled as a Place of Skulls album) was reissued digitally via Stone Groove Records.[7] The band still sporadically performs, mainly at church events and the occasional festival.

Place of Skulls pro full set 4.23.2002 St

Place of Skulls pro full set 4.23.2002 St. Louis (ex-Pentagram)

Place of Skulls - With Vision full album HD HQ hard rock metal

Place of Skulls - With Vision full album HD HQ hard rock metal

Members Edit

Current LineupEdit

  • Victor Griffin - Guitar, Vocals (2000 - Present)
  • Lee Abney - Bass (2000 - 2002, 2007 - Present)
  • Dan Lively - Live Bass (2016 - Present)
  • Russell Lee Padgett - Drums (2016 - Present)

Past MembersEdit



EPs / SinglesEdit

  • The Fall / Evil Seed (2002, Southern Lord Records)
  • Love Through Blood (2005, Outlaw Recordings)

Live AlbumsEdit

Tours Edit

Links Edit

References Edit

  1. / Hand of Doom E-Zine via Wayback Machine
  2. Southern Lord via Wayback Archives Southern Lord's Page on Place of Skulls, accessed 27th February 2016
  3. via Wayback Archives Wino and Place of Skulls Part Ways..., accessed 27th February 2016
  4. Stonerrock.comAccessed March 4, 2016.
  5. Stonerrock.comAccessed March 4, 2016.
  6. Place of Skulls Official SitePlace of Skulls History, accessed February 27, 2016.
  7. Place of Skulls BandcampAccessed 4 July 2016
  8. Place of Skulls Page accessed February 27, 2016.
  9. Place of Skulls Page via Wayback Archive accessed February 27, 2016.
  10. Place of Skulls Page via Wayback Archive accessed February 27, 2016.
V·T·E Place of Skulls
Current Members Victor GriffinLee AbneyDan LivelyRussell Lee Padgett
Past Members Tim TomaselliRon HolznerGreg TurleyScott Weinrich • Dennis Cornelius • Pete Campbell
Studio Albums NailedWith VisionThe Black Is Never FarAs A Dog Returns
Other Releases Place of Skulls Live!Death Row Reunion 2000Love Through Blood
Associated Bands, Artists, Etc. Death RowPentagramThe ObsessedTroubleRevelationCathedralLate For An Early GraveVictor Griffin's In-Graved
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