Scar the Martyr-Scar the Martyr

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Given that Slipknot recently returned to Download earlier this year for a nostalgic albeit inconsistent performance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that each of the band’s eight remaining members would be halting their current side projects and working together on new material. However, Corey Taylor has his very own Stone Sour, Shawn Crahan has the more rock orientated band Dirty Little Rabbits, and now Jordison is applying his instrumental talents to his newest side-project, Scar the Martyr. There’s a great deal of interest surrounding what Scar the Martyr consists of. Chris Vrenna of NIN is on keyboards, Jed Simon (SYL/Zimmer’s Hole) is on guitars with Kris Norris (Darkest Hour), and Jordison, who certainly doesn’t need an introduction, is unsurprisingly behind the drumkit, contributing to the guitars and bass and consequently producing a rather heavy rhythm section. Now this leaves a rather unknown Henry Derek, who will doubtlessly be judged the most by many listeners, if not for his sometimes unhealthy mixture of clean and harsh vocals, then certainly for his as yet unknown musical background.

Now, with musicians like this contributing a bit of their respective talent to a band as new as Scar the Martyr, surely the music is going to be top-notch? Well, the answer to that question is a healthy balance of “yes” and “no”. For one thing, the self-titled début album consists of fourteen tracks and amounts to a far too hefty running time of seventy four minutes, and when many of the tracks could easily have been cut down by a couple minutes each (and still be called average by some), the first word that will pop up in the listener’s mind is undoubtedly “filler”. It’s understandable that the band want to show off their instrumental chops, but when the unnecessarily long endings of ‘Dark ages’, ‘Blood host’ and hit and miss closer ‘Last night on earth’ leave you on the verge of wanting to switch off altogether, it’s not exactly the best of first impressions. This, surprisingly and unsurprisingly, are what Slipknot sometimes suffered from in the past.

Speaking of Slipknot, just take a guess at how much of “Scar the Martyr” consists of half-hearted, rehashed beats and rhythms taken from the entirety of Slipknot’s back catalogue. As exaggerated as you think this last statement may be, you can never shake the feeling of Slipknot’s backbone bearing itself upon every single track within “Scar the Martyr”. It’s horribly uncanny that ‘My retribution’ and the mediocre ‘Cruel ocean’ almost sound like Slipknot would have if the band focused more on Industrial atmospheres and less on the heaviness produced by the rhythm section. Even ‘Anatomy of Erinyes’ and ‘Mind’s eye’ come across as trashy leftovers of early Slipknot material, however hard they try to be different or indeed original.

All this said, “Scar the Martyr” does have its brief albeit delightful moments. For one thing the rhythm section is mostly consistent and well performed. The infectious heaviness that charges songs such as ‘My retribution’ and ‘Prayer for prey’ is very welcome, and the adrenaline-fuelled one-two punch of “White nights in a day room” and ‘Effigy unborn’ make for a supremely monstrous atmosphere. Henry Derek’s vocal style is varied, and in no way comes across as a Corey Taylor clone. In fact, Derek seems to fully embrace whichever musical style is being performed and manages to fit in. Although he has a slight misstep or two in ‘Cruel ocean’ or ‘Never forgive never forget’ where the voice warbles and gives in to the overbearing heaviness of the rhythm section, both ‘Dark ages’ and ‘Soul disintegration’ benefit from his fusion of soft, clean vocals with harsh, energetic roars.

The other outstanding aspect of “Scar the Martyr” is Chris Vrenna’s unmistakeably talented chops on keyboards. He can really give an extra spice to the likes of ‘Blood host’ and the two brief interludes (‘Intro’ and the rather pointless ‘Sign of the omeneye’) are created via eerie atmospheres and sometimes tasteful industrial noise, which very rarely becomes quieter than anything performed by the other instruments. Together with the guitars, bass and drums, it all looks like a bit of a mess on paper, but in musical form, it is consistently fluent and fits well with Derek’s varied vocal style.

So, does “Scar the Martyr” hit those heights which it was aiming for? Sadly not, but there is a large amount of ambition going on here, and the musical talent simply can’t be ignored. This album is good, but far too long and far too self-indulgent at times. Maybe when Jordison isn’t applying his talent to Slipknot once again, he can finally settle down and work with Scar the Martyr and create truly original music, thus producing, in his own honest words, his “career-defining moment”.

3.1/5

1. Intro

2. Dark ages

3. My retribution

4. Soul disintegration

5. Cruel ocean

6. Blood host

7. Sign of the omeneye

8. Anatomy of Erinyes

9. Prayer for prey

10. White nights in a day room

11. Effigy unborn

12. Never forgive never forget

13. Mind’s eye

14. Last night on earth

Bandpage: http://www.scarthemartyr.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ScarTheMartyr?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScarTheMartyr

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ScarTheMartyr

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Devildriver New Album News and Art

DEVILDRIVER have confirmed that the title of their new album is Winter Kills, out August 23 via Roadrunner Records Australia. The band recorded the album in Florida at Audio Hammer Studios and vocals in Los Angeles, CA at Dez’s home studio with Mark Lewis (Black Dahlia Murder, Whitechapel, All That Remains) handling production duties.  

Winter Kills

DEVILDRIVER has worked with Lewis previously onBeast and The Last Kind Words and producer Mark Lewis’s prolific leadership of the new school of metal has yet again helped DEVILDRIVER deliver another Epic heavy Metal record.  This record melds what the band does best. In your face power as well as the California Groove sound the band pioneered.

DEVILDRIVER has always been a band on a three-pronged mission: Work hard, rock harder, and kick as many asses as possible in the process. The band tours forever and has since its beginnings. Their live performances and circle pits are as legendary as their music.

“This is by far DEVILDRIVER’s most cohesive, powerful, groove laden record to date! We delivered our signature California Groove sound alongside a Raw and Biting guitar tone, mixed it with massive hooks, added in thunderous drums to rethink, and reshape another different sounding unique piece of Rock-N-Roll! Cutting our own path is something to be proud of. DEVILDRIVER has always and will forever be about thinking outside the box and delivering on something different from record to record, we cannot be assimilated into any scene or even genre of Metal and we will continue to do things our own way with a massive middle finger in the air to the status quo!” Hail RockNRoll, Dez FaFara

Label Feature: Roadrunner Records

Roadrunner-Records-Logo

There will always be names that are big in the hard rock and metal music industry. More often than not there will be those who come and go, and also those who will stick as hard to the industry as the music they represent. This week’s label feature is that of Roadrunner Records, which was originally formed in the 1980s and since has branched out over many countries and signed some of the industries’ most memorable acts, including the likes of Opeth, Slipknot, Dream Theater, Coal Chamber, Rob Zombie, Rush, Deicide and Death. All these recognizable names may seem impressive, but the roster doesn’t stop or end there.

One notable, cumulative effort from the label saw a collective studio album released to mark the label’s 25th anniversary. The project, ‘Roadrunner United – The All Star Sessions’ is marked as being the first of its kind across any of the music industry’s genres. It involved a staggering 52 performing artists from 40 different bands both new and old to hallmark a sound that represented the label and the artists they promoted.

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This picture is from the release of the documentary and live performance following the release of the studio album, circa 2005.

Roadrunner will always be accredited with finding some of the industry’s biggest names and occasionally will be mentioned in terms of creating big names.