DistortHead VS A Scar for the Wicked

It’s time for a challenge.  Time for a battle where only one can remain, crowned the victor of a meaningless Deaf Sparrow award that doesn’t even exist in any physical form.  At times we review two things at once, we’ve done it before.  Two albums, same band, or perhaps two albums same label.  But then we thought, perhaps it would be better if they battled for a coveted title that no one covets yet.  Both of these discs came at us from a single source, Silver Wing Studios, a studio, graphic design, and promotional engine from out of Montreal, Canada.  The bands in question are both different versions of a type of “the core” (one of the metal variety, the other of the death, or well, does anyone really know the difference?), but that doesn’t mean the fists can’t fly.  Even if they’re from the same country.  There’s always a time for a battle if anyone’s ready, or if we decide it should be so, so, ummm…DING DING DING.


DistortHead – Invasive Species

First is DistortHead, who properly bill themselves as melodic death metal with some core elements.  Really, the core isn’t there too much, so if you thought we meant flying fists as in interpretive dance pits where you sure as hell don’t even touch anyone dawg, you were wrong.  In fact, though Invasive Species starts out with an unimpressive, symphonic intro, these guys are quick to show their real skill.  Is it in breaking ground to erect an edifice of metal the likes of which has never been seen?  No, unfortunately, so if you’re looking for that, look elsewhere, because there’s nothing monolithic about this one.  However, what you find is consistent and heavily focused riff action.  The drums largely do their thing; when they chug, they chug a lug, that kick pulsing in timing with the subsequent chugging of le riffs.  And if you know us, you know we’re really not fond of chugging of any sort.  Even beer irritates us.  DistortHead, however, has mastered the melodic elements of their sound, which are entirely critical to this album being any sort of success.  The solos, the back-and-forth, both guitarists know what they’re doing and in spite of the generic image, those riffs, damn, that’s what keeps it alive.  The vocals do a fine job of juggling clean and core roars, but can we say how critical those guitars are to stabilizing this album again?  Just did.  Invasive Species isn’t going to rustle anything in your pants, in fact there are some moments when you might rustle hair as you shake your head, but the guitar work is probably a precursor to things greater, so stick around.  That expert musicianship might just win one out for them the next time around.  DistortHead Official Facebook  Score: 3.5 / 5


A Scar for the Wicked – The Necrobutcher

Generally anything with ‘necro’ you expect to include themes of death in the pastiche, in the poutporri, if you will.  With a cover featuring something like St. Peter’s basilica and a logo basically ‘death’ in appearance, that furthers your expectations, which are soon jostled awake and you realize it was simply a nightmare.  That’s the tricky thing about deathcore, it tries to be death but it’s way too core.  A Scar for the Wicked are another Canadian band that bills themselves as melodic with some sprinkling of coreness, and thankfully that’s exactly what they are.  The Necrobutcher has some moments of rather powerful riff walls a’crumblin’ down, but it has one major flaw, and that’s a muffled production quality.  The drums, most noticeably via the snare, sound like a kid tapping on the dining room table with spoons, waiting for mac and cheese to please mommy be brought to me now.  That is, it’s one of the most irritatingly ruinous of sounds.  The incessant cardboard tap of that, in particular, would absolutely kill these guys in a full length.  Luckily, this is EP-length essentially.  Other than this aspect, A Scar for the Wicked doesn’t fall into the same mistakes as typical death/metalcore.  The mixture of black metal-styled shrieks with low core roars works, but as we saw earlier the saving grace is the guitars.  They’re delivered with the same intensity with shredding on-top solos being especially evident.  Just check near the end of the final track, “The Blood Ritual”, and savor that wowness.  What they lack, though, is lasting quality, which is more obvious because this is much shorter, though that’s probably for the better because of that unbelievably annoying snare.  The Necrobutcher gives a fair effort in proving itself of “the death” instead “of the core”, but in the end it lacks the overall power it needs.  A Scar for the Wicked Official Facebook  Score: 3 / 5




Written by Stanley Stepanic