Friday, 1 February 2013

#248 Scordatura - Torment of the Weak

When it comes to metal, as far as my experience tells me, Scotland is very much dominated by death metal, with the international community greatly aware of bands like Cerebral Bore and Man Must Die. The scene of less-well-known bands too, however, is currently absolutely thriving. Scordatura are a band I've seen go from strength to strength, and as their d├ębut full-length album is literally just out, I thought I'd give it a few listens.

There are two things which characterise Scottish death metal, and which the casual punter should bear in mind. Firstly, a lot of the bands know exactly how to take brutal music and make it not only brutal, but also catcy. Scordatura manage this well, and the whole album, unapologetically rapid-fire that it is, numbering only seven tracks,  is also memorable and extremely fun to listen to. "Fun" leads me onto the second point - a great many of the bands in the scene, once again Scordatura included, excel in weaving together over-the-top graphic lyrical content with morbid banter, particularly about events which were recent while the songs were being created. Torment of the Weak offers up "Back to Crack" as a shining example of this, predictably about the late Amy Winehouse, and taking the form of a scathing, but thoroughly tongue-in-cheek account of her chemical way. Songs like this join the age-old tradition which the scene has developed of getting songs written about current morbid and twisted events while they're still current, and "Back to Crack" certainly joins the ranks of Cerebral Bore's "24 Year Party Dungeon" and Cancerous Womb's "Austrian Basement", both pertaining, of course, to Joseph Fritzel. All  songs which bravely and at times refreshingly take the listener to a ferociously revolting place in the name of black-humour. The whole album, in fact, is filled with the sort of things which make for fantastic death-metal lyrics, but you'd be deeply afraid to type into Google.

Aside from the lyrics, you might be wondering what else goes into the recipe of Torment of the Weak? Clean (but not abrasive) modern productions aside, I'll venture to say that in many ways, the album is actually quite old-school, which may be one of the reasons it really appeals to me. Underneath the hugely energetic drumming, the riffs roar and churn, ranging from groovy, gut-wrenching tremolos to passages which, underneath the layer of high-speed percussion, take on a positively doom-laden tone. Of course, there are modern things going on too, with slam reminiscent parts, and the occasional well executed breakdown are interlaced throughout the record, and I find them to work rather well, their presence accentuated and emphasised, as opposed to diluted by their sparing use. It's this which makes the album catchy, with the songs giving you time to have a breather and really get into the riffs and vocals, which themselves are filled with catchy hooks. With vocals in mind, I'll observe that Scordatura really have death metal vocals which sound the way death metal vocals should - very guttural and powerful - the result of a vocalist who is undeniably good at what he does, and, having seen the band live half-a-dozen times, really carries a presence as a front-man. Ultimately, on that point, Scordatura has a very competent lineup, and as a consequence, Torment of the Weak is not only an album which is impressively solid, but one which is very representative of what the band can do.

It's always interesting to review a band I'm quite familiar with, particularly if it's a local band. My usual process is of picking bands I've not listened to before at random and going "yeah, I'll review this today". It's a good change though, and above that, it's very pleasing to see bands which are more-or-less local spewing out solid music, and I can safely say, Torment of the Weak is damn solid.

I think I'll give this an 8/10.

Scordatura on Bandcamp
Scordatura on Facebook
Scordatura on Metal Archives