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Scar for Life – Sociophobia Award winner

Scar for Life
by Fred “Cage” Bonanno at 08 August 2022, 8:46 PM

Known foremostly for his work and composition in REDSTAINS, guitarist Alexandre Santos founded the Portuguese hard rock band SCAR FOR LIFE in 2008. With many line-up changes and guest musicians over the previous fourteen years, the band released their fifth studio album “Sociophobia” in July 2022 after a six-year musical hiatus. With a new identity, vision and direction, the band feels they released their most ambitious work yet. Reflecting the controversy of today’s world situation in their songs, especially in the lyrics. The concept of the album is providing an “as is” view of what is currently going on in the world. They hit on issues ranging from police brutality to race riots to social media know-it-alls. They bring heavy, dark, and edgy riffs and melodies combined with passionate and enchanting grooves. The vocal flavoring of Rob Mancini is gruff and crusty with just a “hint” of Lemmy Kilmister but embellish the overall personality of the band.

The album starts out with a nice, short ambient instrumental “In our sight”, but don’t get too comfortable with that glass of chardonnay as “Strike Down” comes right in your face with heavy riffs, nice harmonies and a slick, sharp guitar solo. “Wasteland” is even heavier out of the gate, thundering riffs and Jonsson’s concise brazen drumming. “Rise Again” is a killer AOR song, pounding infectious riffs and scorching hot guitar aided by Mancini’s clean and crisp intoxicating vocals. “Ballerina” is what you would expect, a ballad, although it’s engaging and pensive with some very nice percussion work, it does provide a little gutsy guitar work.
From the opening explosive note, I am so digging “Numb”, a massive and powerful guitar instrumental song lead by guest guitarist Claudio Pietronik (ANCIENT BARDS). An “air guitar” dream song with an arsenal of lighting fast fretboard wizardry. The album ends strong with a song about gun control, “Bullet to Spare”, slick paced rocker with nice keyboards intertwined with perfect balance of silky guitar work.

The beautiful aspect about music of any genre is that it transports the listener away from the chaotic and craziness of today’s world, an escape, so to speak. So, when a band’s lyrics are driven by social events or consciousness, it can be a bit alarming, especially if they are preachy and offer no solutions. The lyrics on “Sociophobia” are deep and revealing, and to an extent, ballsy. They push all the right buttons, hit on a few “taboo” issues all while maintaining a state of self-righteous. The songs are written so the listener can look at it from both side’s perspectives. OK….OK, off the soapbox and back to music. This is a powerful and emotional album and SCAR FOR LIFE has positioned themselves to be recognized as a major player in the hard rock musical landscape.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship:  9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. In Our Sights
2. Strike Down
3. Wasteland
4. Rise Again
5. Ballerina
6. Don’t Stand in my Way
7. Numb
8. Clockwork Hysteria
9. Flying High
10. Send me an Angel
11. Walk Away
12. Bullet to Spare
Alexandre Santos – lead and rhythm guitar
Rob Mancini – vocals
Marc Lynn – bass guitar
Tobbe Jonsson – drums
Daniel Treece-Birch – keyboards and synthesizers
Claudio Pietronik – lead guitar on tracks 7 & 12
Record Label: Pride and Joy Music


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