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Friday, July 8, 2016

Scolopendra - Cycles

Artist: Scolopendra
Release Title: Cycles
Year: 2016
Label: Dooweet Records
Genre: Thrash/Death Metal
1. Dream Sequences
2. Purity
3. Awake Nightmare
4. Spartan Killer Instinct
5. Morbid Psychosis
6. Mental Torture
7. Psychic Paralysis
8. End of Tunnels
9. Pinhole of Diffraction
10. Pinhole of Diffraction (Part 2)
11. Psychotic Mass Murderer
12. Soul Dissolution

The debut full-length from French thrash/death metal band Scolopendra manages to contain enough quality points to be a viable entry in the style moving forward. Based around a tight, crunchy thrash attack with the scattered deathly riff-work and vocals, this here is a lively affair full of dynamic rhythm changes and wholesale tempo shifts. The riffing here is capable of deftly maneuvering through these shifts with great ease, either at a generous mid-tempo gallop littered with steady, simple drumming, swirling thrash rhythms rattling along at a fine heavy charge or just bursting into full-throttle paces that explode with tight energy and frantic rhythms that allow their death metal roots the most opportunity to shine nicely here. Those are where the band really gets quite a lot of mileage out of this one, and showcase the most promise overall with their style generating it’s best work overall, though the fact that it gets quite so many chances is another story here since there’s a few too many tracks featured which manage to come off a little too bloated despite a shorter running time than expected here due to the shorter tracks on the second half which really comes into making this one quite so troubling. The tracks all featured along the upper half here tend to get a little more dynamic and lively work with the more involved rhythms and longer overall running time, while the second half does get short-changed by going more for brief instrumentals and shorter arrangements, leaving this somewhat lopsided and uneven with the differences becoming quite apparent about this minor stylistic change. Beyond this though, there’s not a whole lot really working against it.

The first half has some rather enjoyable work about it. Instrumental intro ‘Dream Sequences’ takes a series of industrial noise riffing droning on into proper first track ‘Purity’ as the tight, crunchy riff-work and thrashy drumming work through a series of intense patterns with the razor-wire riffing working nicely alongside the furious drumming as the mid-section delves into a series of meandering melodic rhythms that charges back into the frantic blasting in the final half for a strong opener. ‘Awake Nightmare’ gradually works from light trinkling riffing that turns into a strong series of raging rhythms fueled by more frantic, full-throttled riff-work and pounding drumming that keeps building into the rather loose, bouncy rhythms rattling along through the finale for another rather strong and enjoyable effort. ‘Spartan Killer Instinct’ features tight, crunchy mid-tempo riff-work that explodes into utterly frantic and blasting patterns with plenty of charging up-tempo riffing bringing along the intense swirling riffing along throughout the solo section and bringing the stuttering, crunchy rhythms thrashing into the final half for an enjoyable and dynamic highlight. ‘Morbid Psychosis’ is another industrial noise collage offering a lead-in for next track ‘Mental Torture’ features swirling droning riff-work with plenty of plodding rhythms that carry on at a straightforward, simplistic chugging series of rhythms with hard-hitting-yet-simple drumming that picks up some energetic patterns driving along into the frantic final half for a decent enough if overall bland offering.

The second half is a little sub-standard but still has some solid points. ‘Psychic Paralysis’ features ravenous razor-wire riffing and plenty of blasting up-tempo drumming that settles on a frantic, up-tempo pace with a series of tight chugging riff-work alongside the more thunderous and savage pounding drumming that works through the tight finale for another rather blistering highlight. ‘End of Tunnels’ uses the sampled speech and chaotic noise to lead into next track ‘Pinhole of Diffraction’ as the savage swirling riffwork and pounding drumming burst through the chaotic opening before settling on a bouncy, mid-tempo paces with stuttering rhythms and pounding drumming that soon builds to a frantic finale for another strong effort. Bleeding through into follow-up ‘Pinhole of Diffraction (Part 2)’ with swirling stuttering rhythms with savage drumming taking the furious paces and tight riff-work alongside the savage, unrelenting drum-work that thumps along to rather enjoyable, bouncy patterns that work throughout the enjoyable finale for another rather enjoyable effort. ‘Psychotic Mass Murderer’ gradually fades into a thumping mid-tempo chug with plodding drumming and tight, stylish riffing with a light, sluggish rhythm holding loose swirling riffing into a mindless repetitive series of riffing throughout the final half for an overlong, unneeded and overall bland offering that doesn’t really belong here. Finally, album-closer ‘Soul Dissolution’  features distorted industrial noises and squealing effects driving into the classical piano notes alongside the deep droning sounds leading into the finale for another dull offering that  really leaves this on a doubly bad impression.

Though it does come up a little short in the second half, there’s a whole lot of enjoyable work on display here when the band does get their sound right that this is an easy listen to fans of death fueled thrash metal or those curious about the band as they begin their careers overall.

Score: 84/100

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