The Rickety Old Shack

A Scar For The Wicked — The Unholy EP

album cover

Due to some last-minute line-up changes, the result of Decapitated dropping off their own headlining tour last year due to legal issues, local death metal band A Scar For The Wicked was able to secure a spot on the Ottawa stop (show review) as the remaining 3 bands soldiered on. I had not heard of A Scar For The Wicked beforehand, but after a strong live performance they had captured my interest. They mentioned a forthcoming EP, and even played a couple of tracks from it at the aforementioned show, so I decided to wait for that to drop.

Well, The Unholy is here and I can say that I came away from it very imrpessed. A Scar For The Wicked play a mix of melodic death metal that evokes In Flames and, in a few spots, Garden Of Shadows (review). The material on this release is technical but avoids descending into the masturbatory excesses of tech death. The band takes their time to establish some stomping grooves, interspered with a few tasteful solos and buzzing leads. "The Abyss" is a prime example of the band's ability to mix brutality and melody in appropriate doses to allow for maximum effect.

The Unholy runs 26 minutes in length and not a moment is wasted. All 7 tracks are sharp and to-the-point, there are no long interludes or atmospheric builds, A Scar For The Wicked start off by kicking in the door and only a fleeting few moments are provided for the listener to catch their breath. The production is nice and polished without sounding overly sterile or edited. Each instrument is audible and well-placed in the mix, for an independent release from a relatively young band The Unholy is produced remarkably well. The guitars sound distinct, the drums aren't an endless series of monotonous clicks, and the vocals — while still incredibly guttural — are well enunciated. In short, we are spared any of the death metal genre's lamentable clichés.

There is little in the way of experimentation on The Unholy but that's not really an issue since the no-frills death and melodic elements are really well executed. I strongly recommend this to death metal fans looking for a quick fix. A Scar For The Wicked may not be blazing new trails in death metal but they can give you an a good tour nonetheless. The Unholy is the perfect length, a sub-half-hour sonic experience that doesn't overstay its welcome — and even invites repeat listens. I always try to make a point of seeing every band on a concert bill, and acts like A Scar For The Wicked make the effort worthwhile; their live show was great and the this EP was another pleasant surprise.

Summary

Local death metal merchants A Scar For The Wicked put together a great little EP, chock-full of sick grooves and crushing riffs. With not a single clean vocal to be found, The Unholy has flourishes of melody but doesn't stray too far from straight-up brutality. This short, sweet, no-filler EP is worth your attention if you're looking to scratch the death metal itch but want something more than 220bpm overly technical sonic spasms.

Album Information

Release date: June 29th, 2018
Record label: Independent

Eric Forget — vocals
Adam Semler — guitar, vocals
Joe Kenyeres — guitar
James Nopper — bass
Nick Rodgers — drums

Track Listing

  1. Born From The Grave
  2. A Place Where Death Resides
  3. The Abyss
  4. Darkness Approaches
  5. The Unholy
  6. Malformed
  7. Evil Within

Link: asftwband.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: July 13th, 2018.