Scar the Martyr
“Oh he is not going to be happy when he sees this!”
It’s October 1st and I’m sitting across from my favorite vocalist in a local rock bar on the Houston stop of his latest tour. I can’t say his name because I do not want to start the rumor mill churning, but by the end of this review you should know who it is.
He passes me a flyer across the table of the bands that will be playing the club this month. His name is on top, and listed two days later is the band “Scar the Martyr”.
“Never heard of them. Should I?” I ask.
“You know him. This is his side project.” He answers me back, and then turns to show the rest of his band the flyer. Most are quiet except for the guitarist who answers by raising his eyebrows.
“Yeah, it’s not ringing a bell and I’m afraid to ask, but is this the time where I say you should have one of those ‘fuck those fucking fucker moments’?”
He first looks at me shocked, then adamantly exclaimed “No, no, no, nooo!” Shaking his head to reinforce his position.
“Let’s just say this guy is really not happy with me right now”.
Flash forward one month to November 9th 2013. While perusing through the new albums at my favorite record store (yes they still have these, SUPPORT LOCAL RECORD STORES!) I see the new self titled debut from Scar the Martyr. I see the sticker on the front of the album that states “The new industrial metal project from Joey Jordison”. Oh shit! The hamsters start running in their circles in my head. Not only does the previous conversation ring in my head, but now I’m curious what about the album and what the “cat fight” is all about.
Starting off, the inside linear notes open up to an inverted cross. Now Joey is my age, so I can remember buying Danzig’s Lucifuge album and seeing the same thing and thinking, “Wow, never seen this before!” I can’t say that this time around but I think I know where the idea came from. Guess Joey doesn’t think that kids buy old records and old guys like us buy new ones.
Art and photos are all cool and support the vibe of the album. This whole project has Joey Jordison’s style all over it as he is credited for all music, guitar, bass, drums and album production. Jordison has a very obvious drumming sound and style to his music that even the most amateur listener can pick out, and Scar the Martyr is no less a example of this.
With 14 tracks, the album very much resembles any and every Stone Sour album. Henry Derek’s transitions from clean to screaming vocals in one verse have a very eerie similarity to Corey Taylor, not only in style, but also in sound. Despite the similarities, Derek’s voice holds up well and delivers a strong performance on the record. Derek is also credited for all of Scar’s lyrics which tackle being a martyr in a screwed up relationship, depression, being a martyr, black souls and depression, being a martyr, and depression. (Sounds like the perfect vehicle for a Stone Sour record.)
The problem with this album is most of the songs such as “Dark Ages” take a classic Ministry like beat, however they lack that “hook” that would make you keep playing it on repeat.
Highlight tracks include the driving beat of “Blood Host” (which I have to admit is my favorite track), the haunting “White Nights in a Day Room”, and the catchy “Soul Disintegration”.
The high points for me are the technical drumming (like you didn’t see that coming) and the strong vocals. The low points is that all the songs start running together and sounding slightly like each other because between the drumming, the guitar riffs and vocal styling, there is little variation between songs.
Overall a great effort, but a couple of strange intro samples and the occasional techno bit here and there does not an industrial metal album make. If a Pantera or Slayer album will get your head banging, this album will get you moderately headbobbing.
I really like the talented Jordison and appreciate everything he does, but let’s just say that after several listens to the album, I’m more of a fan for the work he did with Wednesday 13 in the Murderdolls than with Scar the Martyr. Hopefully they can reunitefor another album if Joey isn’t too pissed when he sees Wednesday 13’s name above his.