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Review: A Scar for the Wicked – The Unholy (EP)

Canada delivers once again on A Scar for the Wicked’s 2nd release The Unholy (EP). With a desire to bring even more violence and what-not to the metal scene ASFTW seems to prove their ground. The Unholy (EP) consists of 7 tracks (about 25 minutes long) that are each unique and heavy in their own ways.

Right off the bat my favorite thing about The Unholy (EP) is how it injects blackened elements into their take on, what I guess is considered, technical death metal. Riffs are relentless and there is no lack of technicality. For example, on “The Abyss” there are at least 2 different riffs being played during that solo. That same solo is very melodic and does not spend much time noodling around and, instead, uses the technicality as a tool to progress the song rather than to shine on its own. Yet by doing that, the guitar work does shine on its own even though it is using its moment to progress the rest. “The Abyss” is one of the more tech deathy songs on the EP and sticks mainly to the zombie and violent sort of vibe going for the EP as a whole. While the whole EP may not be about zombies, “Born from the Grave” is and “The Abyss” is a good follow up in the sense that “The Abyss” gives a flash back to the opening track.

As much as I enjoyed the two songs already mentioned, they do not carry the same weight as “A Place Where Death Resides” and “Darkness Approaches.” Both of these songs have so many parts that make you headbang between the drumming patterns, the riff changes, and the style of riffage. For example, on “A Place Where Death Resides” there is a section that is just straight tremolo-picking riffage then it changes to a riff that emphasizes one or two notes per measure. Sounds boring when I describe it, but it’s very slick and appealing I promise. Then you have “Darkness Approaches” with its groovy intro riff and melodic leads before you even get into anything. It gets better though: the style of “Darkness Approaches” changes majorly in 3 ways as the song progresses in such a sleek fashion; everything just blends together so well.

You can find groove also on the final track “Evil Within.” The groove is mostly on the drumming though in specific sections, which you will be able to hear if you listen. The drumming on this album is excellent. Drummer Nick Rodgers goes beyond standard continuous blast beats by accenting notes with the guitars. The vocals serve as a way to tie the whole band together by holding notes over measures instead of having hard vocal stops. I enjoy this method more because of the way it ties the band together while allowing each member to perform in their own unique ways. Speaking of vocals, the vocals pretty much use the same tone the entire EP, which isn’t a terrible thing. They are relatively high pitched.

The Unholy (EP) is a nice little ditty for those who enjoy death metal with decent production and some flair. The only way for the production to be better would be to turn up the bassist a teeny tiny bit more because he is only audible at certain times hitting certain notes. It’s sad how often this is an issue, but it doesn’t take too much away from the enjoyment of this EP. ASFTW offers a lot on The Unholy (EP) in a short amount of time. I think every song is equally good in different ways, but if you only have time for a couple then I recommend “Evil Within” and “Born from the Grave.”

Rate: 8/10

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