Joey Jordison is talented to say the least. He plays more than 5 instruments, is a member of the Grammy award winning band Slipknot, and formed a duo with Wednesday 13 to make the Murder Dolls.
Joey’s next bright idea, “forming a metal supergroup”, includes the likes of Darkest Hour former guitarist Kris Norris, Jed Simon from Strapping Young Lad, Kyle Konkiel from In This Moment and keyboardist Joey Blush who replaced Chris Vrenna from Nine Inch Nails. However, not everyone in Scar the Martyr is of superhero status in the metal world, as vocalist Henry Derek was not heard of until this project. With all this talent, I can’t really see this going wrong, except that the name makes them sound like a generic metalcore band!
Scar the Martyr self titled album begins with a creepy tortured intro filled with many screams and haunting noises (unpleasant if you hate metal). It reminds me a lot of how Suicide Silence’s debut album The Cleansing begins, but I would have preferred the intro to stop and go straight into the next song instead of just fading out. Blood Host starts with a riff that reminds me of Coal Chamber’s song Loco, and then introduces Enter Sandman sounding drums from Joey around 15 seconds before our first taste of Derek’s vocals. His vocals aren’t as strong as I would like on this track, compared to My Retribution but the real gem is his mid screams which are showcased when he yells “GOD GETS UNDER PRESSURE!” , and foreshadows a taste of things to come.
The stand out song on this album is My Retribution which showcases everyone’s musical talent, their writing ability and overall band cohesion. There is not one weak moment in this song; Derek’s vocals make me think that if James Hetfield and Corey Taylor had a son together, Derek would be the outcome. The guitarists and bassist both shred their riffs and solos turning the music into an unrelentless force. The drumming is simple but that’s what’s great about it, a solid well structured beat with a handful of fills to keep your eardrums grooving. Even though the keyboard yet again has a minor role, it can be heard in the chorus and the bridge before the first solo – but hey, less is more!
So what is the verdict you ask? Well it’s pretty damn obvious that this new metal super group have outdone themselves. Everything has an impact from the unknown super vocals, to solos that melt your face, to the kicks that nearly beat your eardrums to death, to the keyboard that makes a perfect fit like the last piece of a jigsaw. Jordison has been writing stuff for a while and it was clear that he was eager to put out new material for us to head bang to. Joey clearly needed an outlet for his overfilling material, but he also wanted to do something different to Slipknot, a little like Corey Taylor with Stone Sour. There were a few things more I could have hoped for in this album, knowing the instruments used, but this is a stellar effort from Scar the Martyr and the producer, Rhys Fulber. Hopefully many more good things to come!