“Unafraid to tap into some of the darkest, dingiest moments of history, the progressive metalcore masterminds take us on a nine track journey rife with death, witchcraft and inevitable despair.”
WORDS BY ALI GRICE
ALBUM ARTWORK BY KIRK UY
Strap up your boots. Don your overalls. Bring the black hood over your eyes and enter the world of a remorseless executioner, conducting a frenzied witch hunt in SCOLDS’ debut album Lifetaker. Unafraid to tap into some of the darkest, dingiest moments of history, the progressive metalcore masterminds take us on a nine track journey rife with death, witchcraft and inevitable despair.
Brimming with catastrophic breakdowns and aggressive themes, the South Coast five-piece are unafraid to innovate. This is what happens when you turn bedtime stories inside out. No moment of gore is left untold, no entrail is left inside as this grisly allegory unfolds.
Kicking off the album with single Monster, we are instantly thrown into this alternate world by Emery’s heavily distorted vocals and the treacle thick grooves of guitarists Moody and Cox. The entire track bleeds a raw untapped energy that swells throughout the album.
Commencing with cavernous drums overlayed with an eerie yet enchanting riff, Leeches & Worms punishingly slow groove evolves into a bouncy metalcore riff tinged with spite. Delany’s fills perfectly occupy the otherwise silent breaks between the pulsating guitar work and heavy down tuned stretches whilst Bozeman-style growls emerge from Emery’s contorted larynx and bludgeon our ears.
Interludes Hex and Punished offer a moment of refreshment from the assault, with the latter half of Hex occupied by a speech that wouldn’t have been out of place at the Salem Witch trials. Although the moments of comparative serenity are welcome, with the album coming in at only 25 minutes, the album suffers the curse of going by far too quickly. I yearn for more.
Nothing and Deathbed Confession cement SCOLDS unique sound and certifies them as purveyors of the simple metalcore riff. Their ability to switch up the tempo, play with dynamic pedal effects and manufacture a haunting electronic soundscape allows them to do so much with relatively stripped variations of the same riff. Deathbed Confession also offers the most harrowing lyric on the album with:
“In case their bodies reanimate. I’ve locked the basement door, sealed forever.”
The sleeper hit of the album is without a doubt Gravekeeper. From the pummeling double bass to Emery’s estranged screams, this track edges into a more melodic sound around the 45 second mark and it’s honestly goosebump inducing. Even when it returns with the bulbous bass grooves of the 2nd Emery brother on bass, we are met with this symphony of beautiful noise filled with complex riffs fabricating a chilling atmosphere.
The use of silence on the album is sleek and refined. Brief gaps either filled with Delany’s dynamic fills or phantasmic electronic textures are brief windows from the graphic lyrics and grotesque imagery.
“So now we drown the fucking witch, for days I have dreamt of this. Murky water that fills your mouth, leeches feeding on the soft parts of your lungs.”
If I could compare this album to anything, it sounds like the lovechild of Whitechapel and Knocked Loose. But it is impossible to ignore that every track is brimming with moments that stray from your typical metalcore release. From guest vocalist Ben Mason’s (Of Bound in Fear) gutturals on Leeches & Worms to the hi-hit rich breakdowns of Gravekeeper, this isn’t just a new chapter for metalcore. This is a new era.
This album breathes malevolence and will undoubtedly crush live – but for the meantime buckle in, close your eyes and let Scolds envelop you.
FOR FANS OF
Code Orange | Dealer | Human Hell