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Scarred: Gaia–Medea

Scarred, from Luxembourg, has released a fantastic recording titled Gaia – Medea. I could easily call this music "extreme progressive metal" due to the screamed and growled vocals, the blast beats, the staccato-guitar lines, frequent meter shifts and double-bass syncopation. Another simple classification would be that they are influenced by Opeth.

These descriptions would diminish how complete and invigorating this music is. The current ability of metal musicians to enjoy so many varied genres of metal can create a conundrum for such musicians: "should we write death metal, or thrash, or progressive metal, or Top 40 radio-friendly metal?" The outcome of this exposure can cause songs to be so different from one another; a buffet of sorts. Scarred has written songs that have many influences but the compositions are so well-crafted that one can enjoy this and not be bothered with "what kind of metal do they play?" These songs sound carefully written, neither poorly-constructed nor confusing.

Opening track "Gaia" is a great statement towards the forthcoming 9 tracks – you are going to get quite a lot to digest. If you enjoy repeated listens that yield new discoveries, then this is your group. Track 2, "Cinder," shows Scarred's ability to combine fast thrash and slow groove and change easily between the two. Track 3, "The Great Pan(dem)ic," is one of the many highlights of the CD. The melodic opening and guitar solo breaks into a thrashy verse and carries us into the multiple earworms of the pre-chorus and chorus. Track 4, "Psychogenesis," defines progressive death metal with all the speed, syncopation and brutality required.

Guitars are handled with spirit and mastery by Diogo Bastos and Bertrand Pinna. During the guitar solo in "Mosiac" you are hearing fantastic playing; creative leads composed of single line "classical" melodies, then some tasteful shredding, and then some dynamic guitar harmonies that guitar legends would find impressive.

Track 7 "Idiosyncrasy" is a "straightforward" metal song reminiscent of Opeth's death metal approach. I note how the ending of the song is special, featuring delayed, clean-tone, major-key arpeggios that transition into track 8 "The Knot." This transition speaks volumes for the maturity of the songwriting as it doesn't sound forced and feels natural to both the songs.

The production is crisp, the guitar tones are crunchy and warm, and the drums of Laurent Kessel are very well balanced with special attention paid to the cymbals – not too loud but pronounced enough to hear his agility. The vocals from Sacha Breuer are delivered in many styles, frequently layered in combinations that add to the quality of this recording. One critique is that Jeff Jonas' bass performance can be identified but could be brought up in the mix in my opinion.

Scarred have an excellent collection of tracks on Gaia – Medea and will have quite a tough time surpassing the writing and recording from it.

Track Listing
1. Gaia
2. Cinder
3. The Great Pan(dem)ic
4. Psychogenesis
5. Low
6. Mosaic
7. Idiosyncrasy
8. The Knot
9. Empire of Dirt
10. Medea

Added: June 12th 2013
Reviewer: Ryan Good
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2236
Language: english

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