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Skarab: Skarab

I last tumbled face first over the name of vocalist Christian Kolf last year on the gently persuasive, yet brutally effective Woburn House album Sleep Summer Storm. This time however the deep, unwavering Pete Steele (Type O Negative) style vocals are teamed to guitarist and songwriter Tim Steffens, who also performs with Klabautamann, with both those bands and this new collaboration Skarab coming from the Zeitgeister label, experts in fusing together the wide array of talents on their roster. The results of this debut are slowly and deliberately engaging in a steady, gothic, doom like style that hints at greatness, while never really quite forming enough of its own identity to truly make good on those promises.

Richard Nagel hammers down thwacking beats, laying a hefty foundation that Skarab busy themselves building up as best they can, leaving a mark that is impossible to ignore, but equally possible to lose your concentration to. Kolf is undoubtedly a fine vocalist, but one with a style that seldom varies. Meaning a backing that swoops and dives behind his tones is what is needed to reveal the true power he possesses. Listen to "Sunset" to experience what I mean, with an ever changing atmosphere racing, plodding, ambling and hurtling from bar to bar to leave you panting for breath as Kolf hits home every time. However settle into the toned down "Heat" where the seldom changing groove is relied upon too heavily and things become leaden and tired. Steffens handles much of the songwriting and his undoubted fret skills often bludgeon their way through to their intended target, alongside the solid bass work of Gabor Schary. But in the end the lack of force and focus leaves the performances second best to songs that struggle to make their presence truly felt. "Stone Torches" stumbles and staggers, while "The Body Of A Graveyard" sits somewhere between spooky and enigmatic, never really becoming either.

This debut effort from Skarab certainly gives a strong hint that given time something really quite special may well blossom from the gloom and doom of this band. However for a debut offering the initial impact is just a little too blunt to make a lasting effect.

Track Listing
1. Heat
2. Sculpting In Time
3. Horus
4. Island Of Birdmen
5. Sunset
6. The Body Of A Graveyard
7. The Rabbi Of Weeds
8. Stone Torches
9. I Am The Winding Stair
10. Unarmed Sailor

Added: December 17th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link:
Hits: 1678
Language: english

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