Beastmaker don’t so much wear their influences on their sleeves as spell them out in giant, throbbing, sparkly, dayglow letters on their torsos like a group of NFL fans on Superbowl weekend. The stench of Black Sabbath is so ripe on new album ‘Inside The Skull’ that you’ll need a full nasal colonic in order to enjoy anything else after a couple of spins. Iommi-by-numbers riffs and solos swirl around a rhythm section that is thicker than amber and tighter than a gnat’s chuff, and although vocalist Trevor Church doesn’t necessarily sound like Ozzy, his inflections and cadence are an almost exact replica of the double O. The only real differences are an inexplicably low bass mix, which robs the songs of some much-needed weight, and the general quality of the songs themselves, which for the most part lack that essential oompf to pull the band away from the thousands of other baby-Sabbaths in the world right now. Neither fast enough to rock nor slow enough to roll, the album also mumbles along in a frustratingly one-pace middle ground, failing to ever really grab hold of anything and instead settling on a dinner-party-background-noise kind of vibe that feels so comfortable it could have been recorded from the band’s favourite armchairs. That said, the second half of the title track offers a rare moment of pace that is all the more exciting for it; the Red Fang-esque ‘Sick Sick Demon’ ends the album on a hazy high; and it’s hard to criticise the band for being too in thrall of Sabbath when they manage to out-Sabbath the masters themselves on ‘Of God’s Creation’, proving that there is life in the Beastmaker yet. Although there are other bands out there arguably doing this kind of thing better – Blood Ceremony, Black Moth and Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats for example – ‘Inside The Skull’ is a decent stab at an age-old formula, albeit one that comes with the feeling that a little adventure would have gone a long way.