Metal is a deeply saturated genre of music. The overwhelming glut of new albums that cross one’s path on a regular basis make it nearly impossible to absorb all of the new music being released. You can listen to hundreds of metal albums in a year and still kick yourself in the teeth for missing nearly every album on most metal publications’ year-end lists. Given this current state of affairs, it is not at all difficult to miss out on some really great music. Which is a shame, as well as the only logical explanation I have for why Swiss progressive metalcore aficionados Scars Divide aren’t absolutely annihilating the metal world right now.
Hailing from Vevey, Switzerland, Scars Divide have released two EPs in their brief career, 2014’s self-titled outing and this year’s Sons of Terminator. Not a whole lot of music to speak of, honestly. But what they lack in output they make up for in quality, and Sons of Terminator puts the band’s considerable amount of talent on full display. It is fairly astonishing how much goes right on this release. At only two tracks and fourteen minutes in length, this EP flies by in a raging whirlwind of aggression that never feels out of control or sloppy. These tracks are calculated, precise, and devastating. Hats off to vocalist and strings master Greg Parchet and drummer Fabian Vodoz for some genuinely noteworthy song crafting, culminating in one of the most effective and engaging pieces of metalcore released thus far this year.
Both tracks on Sons of Terminator are memorable, engaging, and contain technically stout performances that avoid lazy repetition. However, “Sons of Terminator, Part I & II” steals the show by a healthy margin. This track serves as an absolute masterclass in how to create metalcore that is insanely aggressive without losing its ability to display nuance through its more progressive elements. Parchet’s guitar work shines here with a creative mix of progressive metal, metalcore, and djent stylings that weave seamlessly throughout the track’s impressive nine minutes. Vodoz crushes the kit as well, creating a web of beats that blend perfectly with the heavy chugging of the string section. The vocals, boosted by guests Yann Diaz and David Glassey, vacillate between post-apocalyptic roars and soaring cleans that play off one another impeccably well. It’s a titanic piece of music. The EP’s second track, “The Venom of Leviathan”, incorporates most of these elements but with noticeably less impact. While not at all a weak track, it’s hard to play follow up to such an insanely epic slab of progressive rage.
Scars Divide have unleashed upon the world a uniformly excellent metal release with Sons of Terminator. A mixture of the technical ambitiousness and songwriting chops of The Dillinger Escape Plan and the bludgeoning ferocity of The Human Abstract and early Northlane, this is an essential addition to the ever expanding list of quality metal releases in 2017.
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