Scar For Life's self-titled debut is the kind of release deserving a better outlet than the band's website, where it can be downloaded for free. Why? Because this is an incredible album—a side project, really—from six Portuguese musicians the world has never heard of (there's this vague connection with the group Redstains) but have what it takes to reach a global audience. Unconvinced? Listen to its songs and feel your body become possessed by the opening salvo "Kill The Past" or the energized grooves that makes "Crawlin'" so addictive. This is supposed to be prog-metal, but the overall concept is muddy; there aren't any misguided adventures into instrumentation; nor extended segues of weird music. Scar for Life, despite their insistence on the 'progressive' tag, play unpretentious, confident modern rock injected with metal attitude.
To be honest, this quintet sound very familiar, though one would be hard pressed to name anyone playing like they do. Just let the guitar-driven "The Bleeding Gun" sink to your bones; sit back and enjoy the power-balladish emotional syrup of "My Last Words"; be uplifted by the transcendental "Insomnia" where the band flirt with complexity for once. Black metal blastbeats cameo on "One By One," whose rollicking gait wouldn't do too badly next to everyone's favorite Mercenary or Killswitch Engage. Then the music slows down for the soothing instrumental "Distant Shore," which ebbs and flows with the quiet grace of waves rushing toward a beach. Was that poetic? So is this instrumental. Scar for Life know how to tug at heartstrings AND get the testosterone pumping.
Lest the listener become bored by their more restrained efforts, the adrenalin charged melody of "Innocence Is Bliss" comes alive to resuscitate the album's momentum. As a song its beauty is like a rocket exploding in midair with captivating brilliance.
Discriminating ears might not readily embrace Scar for Life's radio rock appeal and even compare them to Rage Against the Machine or Papa Roach. Whatever. The fact remains, once album closer "A Scar for Life" barges in and casts its spell, few would be left unconvinced of how talented these guys are. Is this album a diamond in the rough? A flash in the pan? An underground sensation? It's hard to tell. What's certain is it's a breathtaking release.
1. Kill The Past
2. The Bleeding Gun
3. My Last Words
6. One By One
7. Distant Shore
8. Innocence Is Bliss
9. A Scar For Life