I have this thing where, whenever I write a review about a band that I’ve covered in the past, I go back and read what I wrote back then, in order to avoid repetition and also to get a general idea of where my head was at back then. In today’s case, my main complaint in the previous review was that the wait between its predecessor and the, then, new record was too long: four entire years! It’s almost as if Scarred took that as a challenge, because the wait between Gaia/Medea and their brand-new self-titled album has been a whopping eight years. Granted, they were quite eventful years that led to a few line-up changes, which had a fairly massive impact on the final product…but that doesn’t make it less painful. Anyway, enough foreplay, let’s go!
First off, the quintet has not changed its genre drastically and stays true to its, technical, death metal roots. However, there is a noticeable trend towards the more atmospheric and melodic end of the spectrum. The songwriting also feels, even, more coherent than ever before, where a thick coat of the old mantra “less is more” has definitely been applied.
Especially the guitar parts seem less like a demonstration of technical prowess, but more like meticulously constructed compositions, where every note is exactly where it needs to be. Don’t get me wrong though: there is plenty of mind-boggling heavy riffage to be found during these fifty-six minutes, but it’s used sparingly in just the right instances.
The drums, on the other hand, are at their usual level of insanity and despite taking a backseat every now and then to serve the song, they never miss an opportunity to sneak in little intricacies that spice up the listening experience immensely.
If I had to summarize the general instrumental direction of these new songs, I’d say that they have a more majestic or rather symphonic feel to them. I’d go as far as to say that half of these songs could be played along by a massive orchestra and it wouldn’t feel out of place.
The elephant in the room is, obviously, the new vocalist who has been lending his vocal chords to Kitshickers for a while now. And if you know his work there, you know that his range is pretty incredible, meaning that he’s able to pull off the cleanest cleans, transcend into mean growls and twirl into bone-shattering screeches, seemingly without any effort. This vocal panoply also further opens up the band’s sound and adds more musical depth to these thirteen songs…actually, only to eight of them, because five are purely instrumental. But if someone had told me in 2004 when the debut EP was released that I’d hear clean vocals in a Scarred song, I’d have laughed my ass off. Needless to say that it works perfectly, of course!
Lyrically, I’d say that the self-titled album is a fairly introspective work, dealing with ego (or lack thereof) and restlessness of the mind amongst other things.
All in all, it’s clear to me that Scarred, the band and the album, has yet again upped the ante in the local metal scene and they have managed to deliver a record that is nothing shy of a masterpiece. Do yourself a favor and listen to it as soon as you can when it’s released this Friday, January 22nd, and enjoy the ride! For more information you can visit the band’s Facebook page and be sure to check out their first single below!