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Scars of Armageddon - Dead End Award winner

Scars of Armageddon
Dead End
by Saxon Davids at 24 January 2018, 8:05 AM

Formed in 2011 by Guitarist George Lohan in Mc Henry, Illinois, Power Metallars SCARS OF ARMAGEDDON released their first six-track album "Never Sleep… Again" in 2013 and now in full force they have signed up with Pure Steel Promotions to release a monster 11-track album "Dead End" and clocking in just shy of 70 minutes, it's an album jam packed with intense riffs, soaring vocal melodies and a strong a sturdy rhythm section. Right of the bat with the intro track "Prelude" I can already hear a strong ICED EARTH influence with the dark and eerie clean intro and being a huge ICED EARTH fan myself, I knew I was in for a treat with the way this was building up! Title track "Dead End" completely flips that initial atmosphere upside down and grabs you by the balls with a hard and heavy Thrash Metal riff, leading into a very anthemic chorus setting the perfect tone for the album to follow.

What I love so much about this track and indeed this whole album, is that SCARS OF ARMAGEDDON are not your typical Power/Thrash Metal band, they have a very unique unpredictability about them which constantly keeps the listener locked in and connected to the music, keeping you on your toes at all times! I must say that I was incredibly impressed with the voice of David Kraus from the get go and as the album progresses he never fails to surprise me with his vocal talents, holding a strong resemblance to Tim 'Ripper' Owens (JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH) he may possibly be the Power Metal communities next Rob Halford. After the first full track, I knew I would fall in love with band. "Lockdown" is the following track and kicks off with an IRON MAIDEN style harmonized riff which evolves into a heavy pre-chorus with some harsher vocals thrown in by George Lohan which is a great contrast to the higher register lead vocals.

"Wasteland" feels like a darker track on the album with the eerie melodies and constant mood changes; this song actually has one of my favourite moments on the album, where the song completely changes tempo and tone and gives you a riff similar to modern-era TESTAMENT and as that riff progresses and speeds up, we're given more ICED EARTH like guitar melodies and harmonies, I love the way this track progresses! "Elf Revolution" is next and is another favourite of mine; kicking off with a triplet riff in the vein of ALESTORM, this song is full of fantastic riffing and yet again another chorus which switches things up by changing the rhythm and tempo and is an absolute god send for lovers of Power Metal like myself, not to mention the fun and wonderful lyrical theme of elves!

"Turns To Gray" is the first 'ballad' of the album, starting things off with a huge guitar melody, leading into a soft and angelic verse. This chorus is one of my favourites on this disc and with the vocal melody matching the guitars, I found myself singing along to this one every single time! "A Good Day To Die" is the longest song at this point in the album and definitely one of the most diverse, kicking things off with a harmonized guitar melody and pounding drums bound to get your fists pumping, this song progresses into an anthemic verse and half time chorus, half way through the band completely flips the tone upside down with a lower tuned guitar riff giving off a strong TRIVIUM vibe which sounds great in contrast to the rest of the song, this section is monstrous and leads perfectly into another soaring guitar melody and maps out the rest of the song spectacularly! This song also features a guest guitar solo at the end from former MANOWAR guitarist and fellow label-mate David 'Shred Demon' Shankle.

"Endless Horizon" is a straight up power metal track with heart racing double-kick drumming throughout the choruses and high energy guitars, breaking down into a marching snare beat towards the end with lots of sing-along guitar melodies building it back up nicely into the final chorus again. "What Lurks Beneath" is a more mid-tempo track and features more of Mr Lohan's harsh vocals we caught a glimpse of towards the beginning of the album. The slower tempo on this track also gives a lot more vocal room for David Kraus and he seizes every opportunity to stretch his voice to its full potential. Next is the title track to the band, "Scars Of Armageddon" which is one of the most anthemic songs on the whole album. While being the shortest song on the album, I feel it's definitely one of the strongest and pays testament to the bands sound very well, I can see this song being a must-play in a live setting, getting every audience member to scream the lyrics and melodies back to the band.

"Dead End " finishes off with a nine and a half minute epic "Fatal Impact" bringing the atmosphere up slowly with the bass and guitars until the tempo is raised with a mighty power metal scream from Mr Kraus. This is a song packed full of emotive changes, with verses forcing you to bang your head hard and a chorus impossible to not sing along to at the top of your lungs. And with a huge instrumental section in the middle, each musician gets to show off their skills once more before the album comes to a close with a hard and heavy outro.

This album is an incredible work of art full of surprises and individuality which I’m certain will drive this band far, and with a huge replay-ability value I'm sure this will remain as one of my regular listens for quite some time. I urge any Power Metal fan to buy this album, it is one of the strongest and most unique pieces of work to have been released in quite some time and there is not one dull moment here, truly stunning and inspiring!

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 8

5 Star Rating

1. Prelude
2. Dead End
3. Lockdown
4. Wasteland
5. Elf Revolution
6. Turns to Gray
7. A Good Day To Die
8. Endless Horizon
9. What Lurks Beneath
10. Scars Of Armageddon
11. Fatal Impact
David Kraus - Vocals, Guitar
George Lohan - Guitar, Vocals
Paul Postelnik - Bass
Jason Krieger - Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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