Afroskull can be described as greasy persuasion mixed with bad gris-gris. The ‘Skull, a New York City funk/rock group that hails from New Orleans, is a musical gumbo that is one-half Funkadelic and one-half Black Sabbath. They also have generous amounts of Zappaesque runs as well as jazzoid trumpets. Their soaring musicianship and grooving grooves keep the party going all night. Afroskull was born out of saintly chance and house party jam sessions at The Big Easy. They have been intent on pursuing a broad musical canvas with wide strokes and a terrifying palette for over a decade. They have created a unique hybrid sound by combining different musical styles. The band took their name from the perceived “halo”, that worn LP fade that framed the shrouded skull in the back cover of Steppenwolf Live. They then created a moniker that reflected the heavy boogies that they were producing on a regular basis. The band’s early musical endeavours and growing popularity in New Orleans brought Joe Scatassa (guitar), Bill Richards, Matt Barone (keyboards), Jason Isaac and a group of horn players into the studio to record their first album. The 2000 release of Monster for the Masses received high praise. Despite not being commercially successful, the band’s popularity, supported by their solid studio efforts and high-powered performances, continued to grow despite a variety of changes. After the departure of band members, a short hiatus and a return to New York, Joe u0026 Jason reconstituted Afroskull. The Big Apple was their backdrop, and Matt Iselin (keyboards), Dan Asher and Seth Moutal (percussion) joined the band. The band was reborn with the same genre-eschewing bent. The band’s live shows were a showcase for their provocative sound and they added the “Horns of Doom” to make it even more powerful. Rafi Malkiel (trombone), Justin Flynn (10or sax) u0026 Jeff Pierce (trumpet) came from a rotating group of horn players, each with their own style but still committed to the group dynamic. Afroskull was enticed by the small but loyal fan base and impressed by Joe’s intricate spiraling music, they once again headed for the studio. To Obscurity and Beyond is their first album in nine year. It’s a tempestuous mix of jazz, rock, and funk. Joe Scatassa’s original compositions and production are bursting with excitement. Ronnie Cuber (baritone, clarinet, and Frank Zappa fame), joins Joe Scatassa. The lush brass orchestrations complement and counter the full-throttle gonzo spink. The mostly instrumental offering is punctuated by two fiery vocal tracks. It never tramples but it does a lot. Afroskull is now distinct from their peers with Beyond and To Obscurity, which marks their return to the scene as a fierce and unrelenting force. – From

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