Let’s talk metal! 2020 was a pretty great year for a lot of heavy music, and I’m expecting 2021 to deliver even more awesome new music for me to indulge in. One of the best perks of writing for Everything Is Noise is the long list of new music we receive on a weekly basis, which is where I discovered hordes of new incredible bands last year. The trend is definitely continuing, because I’m starting this year strongly with the mighty new record from Scarred.
Eight years after the release of Gaia-Medea, Scarred has returned to offer up some of the best modern metal on the market. The death metal collective from Luxembourg’s self-titled sophomore album is massive, fierce, and sufficiently melodic, taking plenty of influence from other titans like Gojira and Strapping Young Lad. The vocals are brutal, the guitars are virtuosic and distinctive, and the drums are thunderous and powerful, culminating in a clean production that makes sure to leave none of the layers too buried in the mix. As such, Scarred is a perfect representation of what modern death metal should sound like.
“Mirage” is the perfect lead single for Scarred, because it nicely summarizes what to expect from the remainder of the record. The introduction is speedy and crushing, with incredibly fast tremolo guitar riffing and double bass drumming. Without offering much of a chance for recovery, the song moves into a complex and groovy chorus that is as catchy as it is savage. After the storm comes an entirely different section of reprieve, slowing down the barrage of sound to almost a complete halt. As the track’s dynamics grow again, it builds to a monumental climax that perfectly leads to the riffing that kicks off “A.D…Something”.
Interestingly enough, Scarred succeeds in writing some tracks that fit would fit nicely into the more mainstream side of metal. For example, “Merry-Go-Round” possesses riffing that is more melodic and contains vocals that have pitched screaming. It reminds me a lot of something that might be heard on a Trivium album with more of a heavier edge. This sound continues into “Nothing Instead”, which has an infectious chorus that doesn’t relent on the power. I think it’s impressive that Scarred can write music that wouldn’t necessarily be considered conventionally catchy, yet the vocals and guitar melodies managed to become ingrained in my head long after listening.
One of my favorite tracks from the album is the ambitious “A.H.A.I.A.”, which boasts eight minutes in length and plenty of dynamic shifts and interesting elements. While the song begins with death metal riffing and blast beats, it moves into territories that few bands will tread. About three-minutes in, the entire approach shifts into an odd electronic break that is followed by a haunting sound that seems like it might be a type of throat singing (don’t quote me on that, but it definitely reminds me of it). As the guitars and drums kick back in, the vocals turn into a chant that continues until the song concludes. It’s a very unique moment that stands out on the album.
Scarred take no prisoners throughout the entirety of this epic metal record. The peaks and troughs of intensity result in a rollercoaster ride that is extraordinarily enjoyable and also exorbitantly heavy. It’s exciting that metal music is evolving away from relying primarily on brutality, represented perfectly by the juxtaposition of the ferocity in “Chupacabra” with the atmospheric textures in “Lua” and “Prisms”. Scarred is a step in the right direction, and the band should be added to any metal fan’s watchlist immediately.