Scar The Martyr – S/T

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Review by Jason Guest

RoadRunner Records

With the world waiting to see what Slipknot will do next, Joey Jordison has put together Scar The Martyr. Writing all the material and playing drums, bass and rhythm guitars on the record, he has enlisted NIN keyboardist Chris Vrenna as well as ex-Strapping Young Lad guitarist Jed Simon and Darkest Hour guitarist Kris Norris to imbue his debut with the kind of calibre he thinks it merits. And with such a line-up, I suppose we could call it a supergroup, were we so inclined, but with the band name suggesting generic – i.e. bland – metalcore, it’s not looking as good as it might.

After the fairly predictable and ineffectual ‘Intro’ (screams slowly accumulating against a backdrop of reverbed noise, where have we heard that before?) in slams ‘Dark Ages’, and the hand of producer Rhys Fulber is immediately apparent. Bearing the industrial metallic density of Fear Factory with its gated drums and mechanically precise riffs as well as that unmistakable Slipknot sound, so far Jordison’s project sounds as if it would be more at home in the 90s. ‘My Retribution’ sounds the same, frontman Henry Derek chopping between clean and aggressive vocal styles in a track that follows a fairly predictable structure. With ‘Soul Disintegration’, it’s Derek’s vocals that are the key strength against the alternative metal riffing and NIN/Gary Numan darkwave/gothic industrial electronica, the track providing an interesting facet to a hitherto pedestrian album. The vocals on the flat, almost poppy ‘Cruel Ocean’ sound like Linkin Park – never a good thing – and ‘Blood Host’ sounds like Korn, Coal Chamber, and of course, Slipknot, chopping between the customary bent-over-with-violent-stomach-cramp riffs and vocals and melodic, Corey Taylor choruses. From here on in, the album does little to escape sounding like a pastiche rather than anything innovative or vaguely original.

Sounding too produced, too manufactured, too convoluted to be convincing, there’s no clear sense of direction across the album and the band lacks a distinct – or even distinguishable for that matter – identity of its own. The musicianship is top notch, the production is remarkable, newcomer Derek is an exceptional vocalist, but the album does very little. Maybe fourteen tracks was stretching it; had it been ten or less then perhaps Jordison’s forces could have been more potently concentrated. Slipknot fans’ll love it but I doubt anyone else will be overly impressed.

Scar The Martyr 20135 out of 10

Track listing:

  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