Trouble's second release The Skull was released about a year after Psalm 9 and continues with the same dark and oppressive Christian themes as the first release. There are two notable differences though -- the production is better which highlights that the songs are darker. The press release that came with the Escapi reissue starts with the line "The Skull - Suicide and death and drugs".
About half the songs on this release were written and part of Trouble's live set prior to any of their studio recordings. Some of the "newer" tracks like Pray for the Dead and The Skull show the band's songwriting maturing but the lyrics reflect that Eric and the band are dealing with some pretty heavy issues.
Most of those songs were already written when we did the first record," explains Rick, with respect to The Skull's tortured lessons. "But a lot of the lyrics weren't finished at that point: it was basically Eric that needed to get to work on that stuff. And just from being with Eric and talking to him over the years, from what I understand, that was the most depressing time in his life, when he wrote the lyrics to that album. And it kind of shows. When you listen closely to what's going on in there, he sings a lot about suicide and death and drugs. There were just a lot of bad things he was going through."
Escapi Music has included a bonus DVD of the band performing live in Aurora, IL in 1985 with the reissue of The Skull. (I would suspect that the real date of the show is 1984 as Eric mentions that The Skull will be released in January. In looking online, I found one site that lists the date and club as Malos in Aurora, IL – Nov. 10, 1984.) I really enjoyed this DVD but don't think it is for everyone. It is filmed with a single camera from the back of the crowd and does not have sound from the board. Taking it for what it is (essentially a 20+ year old bootleg), it is pretty good and really shows what the band's live show was like when they first hit the circuit. The video runs close to 2 hours and highlights songs from both LPs. It is interesting to note that the band dropped the Accept and Angel Witch covers that seemed to always be in their set and have added covers of The Yardbirds' Heart Full of Soul and Sabbath's Children of the Grave to the set. Also, Run To The Light is included in the set almost three years prior to it being released on Trouble's 1987 LP/CD of the same title.
It is great that Trouble is finally getting the recognition that they have long deserved. Look for Trouble's new release and tour in early 2007. The band's website also states that the long awaited Trouble unplugged CD will be released in the summer next year.