01. You Were Different In My Dreams 02. Perfect Beauty 03. Consume 04. Extinction 05. The Art Of Insanity 06. Laying Stars To Sleep 07. True In Friendship 08. Last Dance 09. Whispers In The Wind 10. The Setting Sun 11. To Fathom Eternity 12. Utopia2002 Thorp Records
by John C.
For those unfamiliar with Scars of Tomorrow, the Orange County band mixes elements of Swedish melodic metal in the vein of In Flames and At the Gates, with American hardcore, taking cues from bands like Integrity and Hatebreed. Although the band displays plenty of metal in its music, their sound is more hardcore-oriented than what the band's description may conjure up in a listener's mind. If anything, they're probably comparable to a heavier Darkest Hour. The albums opening track, "You Were Different In My Dreams," begins with a brief sample of whispering voices, and then immediately breaks into the melodic, Gothenburg-style of metal that is found in so many crossover bands these days. SOT mixes it up though, with some clean guitar interludes, and plenty of crunch and blast beats. Some other elements displayed by SOT include a somewhat crusty-punk beat in "Perfect Beauty," and even some acoustic guitar, keyboards, tolling bells, and crew back-ups ("True In Friendship," "Extinction"). If you can imagine a hybrid consisting of the mosh of Hatebreed, the driving/danceable hardcore rhythm of Integrity, and the guitar work of Darkest Hour, you'll have an idea of what SOT sounds like. There is a lot of double bass and mosh to go around, and some more-complex guitar work in tracks like "The Art Of Insanity" and "Whispers In The Wind." "Laying Stars To Sleep" is reminiscent of 7Angels 7Plagues, with its brutal crunch and vocals, while one of the album's later songs, "To Fathom Eternity," is composed of piano and strings, and sounds similar to Zao's "Violet," off of "Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest." Vocally, the patterns alternate between deep, gruff hardcore/death metal sounding vocals and monotone spoken word. In terms of musicianship, the band could be a little more tight and clean, especially during the heavy crunch riffs, and some of the faster-paced songs. The albums production values lag a bit, especially considering the style of metalcore they're playing. The recording sounds somewhat raw, and many times, the guitar tones are inconsistent, as they seem to differ from track to track. Lastly, "Utopia," the album's closing song, seems to have some abrupt guitar entrance amid some atmospheric keyboard. Whether this was done intentionally or not, it sounds very misplaced and off-cue. The lyrics are personal, expressing a lot of inner struggle, hatred, and turmoil. The layout design and direction was done by Jake Bannon of Atomic-ID!. The basic colors are mostly dark, earth tones, such as brown and black (some random text print), with an almost parchment look. The cover has a skull and cross bones image placed on top of a table saw blade, neatly in the center a red cross (similar to ones that appear in Bane's latest album, "Give Blood"). Of course, there are some splatters (presumably blood) on the image. Printed neatly below the whole image is the band's name. Bottom Line: This isn't a bad record. I can definitely see potential in SOT, but they'll need to work at separating themselves from the rest of the pack, as there isn't much to distinguish SOT from the growing number of crossover bands out as there, and fans of the genre already have a bevy of choices to choose from. It's definitely worth a listen though, and if fans of this style are really hungry for more melodic, Swedish-influenced metalcore, they should check out "All Things Change."
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