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Scalpture - Feldwärts

Scalpture
Feldwärts
by Oli Gonzalez at 16 May 2022, 5:56 AM

War. It seems to be a suitable theme for a metal band. The darkness and violence of the war field can perhaps be best expressed through the aggression of the music. German death metallers SCALPTURE bring their latest effort, “Feldwarts”, which is follows previous albums in being themed on the atrocities of World War 1. To be truthful, this isn’t the first band I’ve seen do this, however, I’m interested to see how and if they do this differently. Also, they BOLT THROWER as major influence. It’ll also be interesting so see how they compare.

The album opens with “To End All Wars”. I can hear traditional death metal spine supplement with some groove and black metal elements. Also, given that Thorsten’s first language is likely not English, I can really appreciate his attempts at remaining heavy and fierce behind the mic, yet retaining annunciation and diction in parts. That being said, this song hasn’t really ‘grabbed’ me yet. Saying that, “Ils n'ont pas passé” hit me like a ton of bricks! That opening is a testosterone sandwich, in your face death metal speed and intensity. The band maintain this through most of the song. Now, things slow to a glacial drip in the mid-point. The haunting voices of a male choir make a chilling appearance. An equally haunting chilling clean guitar passage follows it. This gives the song a progressive experimental element which I find fascinating. Definitely the highlight for me so far! “Challenging an Empire” opens with another slow, ominous guitar passage (which makes a return later in the song). This is ingenious, as when it’s contrasted against the raw intensity of the death metal elements, you can truly appreciate it and can’t help but feel invited to bang you head and windmill like a mad man. Just like I did during the last minute to this song! Check it out and you’ll see why.

“Thunder in the East” is one of the more groovier, slower and more methodical numbers on this album so far. Thorsten gives one of his stronger performances too. Especially during the mid-point, when he shrieks the words “burning cities, burning lands” over the top of another trademark slower clean guitar passage. Gnarly! The band never mentioned traditional black metal as an influence, but I can see shades of this in the early parts of “Grabengott”. That low-fi distorted guitar riffs give that feeling, and cleverly coming in and out of the composition gives that early Norwegian feel.

I can see elements of sludge and doom in “Stahlbad” and “Landships”, especially when the band slow the pace right down and crank out the simple yet brutal riffs. Still, there’s room for delightful blast beats! I’ve got to be honest, I was starting to lose interest. It did start to feel a bit cookie cutter at this point. The vocals are harder to understand and there’s no real story telling either sadly. This is crucial really if you’re selling point is being a band that tells stories of World War 1. I was fearing that the next song “Through Hell and On” would be too similar to the others. For the first half, perhaps so. However, the second half is dominated by a monster of a solo! Soaring, melodic, emotional. That really is a thing of beauty, and demonstrates the band’s versatility! I had just criticised the band for not incorporating enough story telling. However, “The Road Back” features a monologue from a solider, wailing in agony in the midst of battle. Whether it’s in German or English is irrelevant. You can hear the agony in his voice and fear!

Maybe a bit raw in production at times, and some ideas maybe a little rushed. Though this has done the band’s sound and reputation no harm at all.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. To End All Wars
2. Ils n'ont pas passé
3. Challenging an Empire
4. Thunder in the East
5. Grabengott
6. Stahlbad
7. Landships
8. Through Hell and On
9. The Road Back
Lineup:
Moritz – Drums
Niklas – Bass
Tobias – Guitar
Thorsten - Vocals
Felix – Guitar
Record Label: FDA Records
     


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