Southern California’s newest no-holds-barred metalcore outfit Scalp has a debut full-length to present to the world. Domestic Extremity is drenched in throwback grind, punk, hardcore, and death metal. With short, hard-hitting songs, the band cuts through the current state of underground punk and metal to great success. It is heavy. It is fast. It is noisy. It is all-around satisfying.
Devan Fuentes’ heavy, chugging guitars eviscerate through the seconds, accompanied by powerful drums and tortured vocals. Amongst the simplicity and brevity of these ten tracks, there are many unique and powerful moments within the album’s 20-minutes.
An example is the opening of the album, “No Hope,” when drums and vocals stand alone in suspension after piercing feedback. The song’s breakdown hits hard, but the band keeps you wanting more. Or like drummer Luke Smith’s roll in “Indigent Botulin,” which leads the track to an unexpected and short-lived climax.DOMESTIC EXTREMITY by SCALP
“Bastard Land” is notable for its brutal breakdown and sample about the police. There are social and political themes throughout the lyrics, which are screamed effectively by frontman Cole Rodgers. The title track “Domestic Extremity” has it all—a fast metalcore-influenced punk beat reminiscent of Full of Hell, a cathartic breakdown, and short bursts of blast beats.
While most of the album is well-rounded, there are a few unremarkable moments where the band settles for a typical hardcore riff, but the combination of influences makes this debut cohesive, unique, and exciting. Even for a jaded listener, Domestic Extremity gets you excited by primitively heavy punk, hardcore, and metal once again. The album breathes into it new life.
The double bass in the track “Scalp” rolls like thunder and the vocals are altogether writhe and purposeful. They never falter in their scathing, wretched delivery. The guitar tone is dirty and clear simultaneously. Cole Sattler’s bass is featured in glimpses of low fuzz. It sets up the crunchy breakdown in the final track “Depleted Mass,” which is intersected with a passage of noise that could have been harsher and more intense. The Holy Grail reverb pedal is perhaps overused but the noise is like some hot sauce on this release. Maybe next time it will be a key ingredient.
Scalp hasn’t broken into new ground yet, but if this first LP is any indication the band will be experimenting with new sounds in the future. They already have a cohesive, informed take on the underground that’s becoming their own. The tracks could be looser, a little more experimental, and increasingly boundary-pushing, but this listener doesn’t doubt that the band will get there. While the record is short and sometimes singular, none of this truly effects the quality of the music. Scalp’s debut full-length is an exciting listen and a powerful debut.