Scar The Martyr
Scar The Martyr
The fact that Joey jumped out of Slipknot should not surprise none of you, especially as he’s now in the follow-up to Slipknot. Let’s not beat around the bush, these guys offer many of the same qualities that the knot offered, but with a more commercial touch that will certainly make more of a dent than Slipknot did with their earlier years. This album features of course, Joey on drums as well as former Strapping Young Lad axeman Jed Simon on the guitar and backing vocals, as well as Darkest Hour axeman Kris Norris also on the guitars. So yes, this equals plenty of duel guitar sessions, which ultimately equal out to some memorable solos for a nu-metal record. As for the vocalist, he’s an unknown by the name of Henry Derek who has a voice made for the radio and grunt that will be instantly familiar with fans of Five Finger Death Punch and Hatebreed.
But let’s be honest, because this can be a rather light knot. Though you’ve got some heavy numbers on here like “My Retribution” or “Blood Host,” there are also a smorgasbord of radio ready tracks with crisp choruses, ready to plague your mind with constant earworms. For a man like myself, who grew up with this type of music and still considers it palatable, I have to consider a disc like this a godsend. I still listen to music from obscure nu-metal acts like The Clay People and Stabbing Westward, so this stuff stuck on me like glue. As for musicality on this one, at least they do try different things aside from nu-metal riffs, being inspired by melodic death metal ala Soilwork; and djent (of course) on tracks like “Effigy Unborn.” But the fact that I like it because it’s catchy as all hell doesn’t mean that you’re actually going to buy it. But if you love the old style of nu-metal filtered through the sound of modern metal, then this will certainly satisfy your sweet tooth.
I do want to make some things clear though: as I said “follow-up” to Slipknot, which doesn’t mean that they’ll replace that legacy, because I think that these guys have quite a lot of work to do before they can even get to that point. I still regard The Subliminal Verses as a high water mark in that band’s career, as it did things that I’ve still yet to hear other experimental acts try. There’s no way in hell that Scar The Martyr is on that level, but I think that they will grab a shitload of fans of the knot who will find Slipknot’s forthcoming release (which I expect to either be more in the vein of metal or prog than ever before) not as palatable. The problem is, Jed Simon was in Strapping Young Lad, and is well known for playing some of the most insane songs in the heavy metal genre; but here he is as a down tuned shell of his former self, relegating to a couple good solos that he had hidden in the attic as Henry and Joey pretty much do all if not most of the talking here. Is someone trying to capitalize on Slipknot’s success? Hell yeah. There’s absolutely no question about that. Scar The Martyr is the most accessible thing that Joey’s ever stamped his name on, and he knows it. It’s a tough economy and this is the dreaded “sellout” hand played in full. If Slipknot was mallcore, then this must be twerkcore. There are definitely better bands of this type like Transport League and 40 Below Summer who have both released new albums this year; but if you’ve got to try this out for yourself, then I recommend giving the free EP a try if you can still find it. That also includes two tracks that you won’t find here.
Even though you might feel this album deserves less than what I gave it, I can’t deny that there’s at least something to be said for this act. The overall consensus of reviews seems much higher than that, as one quick look at Google will treat your eyes to stars populating the sky. But I try to be as true to the release as I possibly can, and the majority of metalheads are going to junk this for the new Deicide or Carcass, which they’re probably still playing right now. But once again, if you’ve got to have the catchiest shit known to mankind, then you’ll definitely want this album. It might as well be pop music with heavy riffs and great leads, in all honesty. But millions of fans can’t be wrong, can they? (Eric May)