After more than a month of a wait since release of the album, I received Scamp's new album “The deadcalm” on Thursday 31st of august. My stupidity for not ordering asap when it got available.
Seriously, waiting for a new albums of my favourite bands is worse than waiting for a holiday.
Now, after listening to it for a 2 months,I just can't stop listening to it. The more I listen to it, the more I see I couldn't even expect anything better. When the band announced Michael Bøgballe as a new vocalist my jaw dropped in surprise and joy. I was gutted when I heard that Michael's withdrawing from music years ago. I'm glad that Mnemic delivered 3 smashing albums with Guillaume Bideau on vocals.
I hoped Michael will return to metal scene and look, what a comeback it is!! Honestly, for me, comeback bigger than this would be reunion of Strapping Young Lad for at least a tour, live record and to see them live once (that's my personal opinion, don’t take too seriously).
I got instantly hooked on Scamp's debut album "Mirror faced mentality" which was awarded a "debut album of the year" in danish metal music awards. Hearing it in 2008 for the first time, it was quite refreshing slap in my face. In a time of growing number of bands playing polyrhythmic/ meshuggah influenced music with clean production going in a direction of being as technical and down tuned as possible, hearing Scamp's rawer, fast and straightforward feel was awesome. This neat balance of dirty thrashier sound is what stood out for me. I know very little about recording, production, so I rather avoid this kind of tech talk and summarize Mirror faced mentality's as a raw, energetic outburst delivered with sharp snare-drum & clear percussion work hitting me first, with great polyrhythmic riffs, brain violating aggressive vocals, guitar solos delivering deep melodic impressions. I need to mention whole drumming is just something that caught me with individual style and high technical skill. I enjoy slow, quiet passages on this debut as well, they're just enough to recollect listener's sanity before next attack.
So, back to latest album. Expectations running high. With Michael joining the band even higher. First song I've heard was low quality (probably pre-production version) release of "Silent inferno" on youtube. To be honest, I wasn't amazed. I kept on listening and it grew upon me. Slowly throughout few weeks, till I realised I was listening to this song on repeat for at least a 5th time.
And here's the point worth derailing from The deadcalm's review and talk about music and art in general. In these fast-paced times even great music suffers. Everybody expects to love the song on a first listen, to appreciate the album after a fast skip-through on youtube. If anybody thinks he/she can really get what song or album is about, to get into author's head, writing, emotions and really embrace or get overwhelmed on a first listen, is a fool. Music and art in general is bigger than us, than our egos and we need to allow the art to come to us. That's why we see many music "experts and reviewers" disliking/ hating particular songs or bands. Everybody has standards set up high to heavens, but never really listened properly to a music they talk about. Everybody expects instant progress and mindblow from artists. If you want to have your mind blown away instantly, go take a heroin, if you're too lazy or shallow to make some effort and devote some time to art you're experiencing.
OK, rant is over, back to The deadcalm.
One very high scoring element on this album is lyrics. I opened a booklet and saw a ton of words, but not just shallow non-sense. Something that comes out of one's life, something one can relate to. Thoughts like "we're born weak, but with good intentions. Strong, but with bad connections"... it all makes the music resonate with you even more. That is something I will need to sit for and read while listening to it a few times.
I'm not going to dissect each song one by one. I'll talk about overall impression of this album. Words equilibrium and balance come to mind. As the whole album, each song seems perfectly balanced to me. Balance between fast paced blasts, slower passages, groovy riffs and technical frenzies, harsh vocals and the melodic ones. All that connected together without a hiccup or flaw. The only thing I'm not that keen on, are quiet parts with Michael reciting the lyrics. It might sound better being just instrumental, but that's only minor thing which I might change my mind about later. If I'd have to rate it, I would give it 5 of 5 stars. It's not objective review and I'm not even trying to do so. I write about how I perceive and feel Scamp's music, not measuring their technical abilities, virtuosity, endeavours to progress the music and comparing them to other bands. I'd say The deadcalm exceeded it's fantastic predecessor. It is one of the best releases of this year so far for me. We all have albums and songs which became some kind of a soundtrack to our lives. And this one falls to that category for me. Harsh, powerful, brain beating, modern groove metal without compromises. I hope this band is here to stay for many years and loads of great music.