Our death metal friends Scorched released their sophomore full-length this past Friday. Rather than following Boethiah and Vektor by examining the intricacies of the edges of outer space, Scorched imagines a world where aliens come down to our beloved rock to murder us. If that’s not an (inter) stellar death metal theme I don’t know what is.
The contrast between the simplicity of a band name like “Scorched” and the complexity of an album title like “Ecliptic Butchery” is a dichotomy that highlights exactly what works about the band’s style. While still implementing what our death metal forefathers lent us twentieth-century youth, Scorched sacrifices potential primal brutality for a space-like complexity. As the album cover suggests, also in line with this aforementioned dichotomy, the lyrical themes to be found on Ecliptic Butchery focus on an invasion from the cosmos, while also implementing a fair share of beloved brutality; gore, guts, and grossness.
Ecliptic refers to the flat plane on which the sun revolves around the Earth. If that doesn’t make a lot of sense, its because I don’t really understand it either. Google it for yourself. Scary movie titles used to describe the obvious, like “They Came From Beyond Space” or “Invasion of the Star Creatures.” I guess decades of publication and copyright force us to dive deep into the thesaurus nowadays. Let’s get to the music.
Scorched isn’t afraid to slow down their material. With metalcore’s invasion upon the dawn of the millennium, the subgenre’s incessant desire to “breakdown” into slow crushing riffs became its focus point, eventually killing it from the inside. You see, if everything is slow and heavy, nothing is. The impact on this war between metalheads and “core” fans resulted in the breakdown being taken from our own toolbox. Well, while I wouldn’t call them “breakdowns” in the traditional sense of the word, Scorched loves to slow down their music to a trudging crawl at times, making severely drastic time signature changes. The band lobotomizes their fast introductions with disgustingly-slow chugs, as implemented on “Blood Splatter Eclipse” and “Disfiguring Operations”. These sections are then further expanded upon, using the slow moment as an impregnation of diversity.
In line with the point above, Scorched’s style breaks death metal down to its roots, as corny as that sounds. They’re not afraid of breakdowns, and willingly slow down their music for the pure atmosphere and heaviness of the notion. I’ve complained prior about bands getting lost in a hubris of technical ability, with the end result sounding more like someone making popcorn than music. However, Scorched voids themselves of this danger through the sheer diversity of speed on Ecliptic Butchery. The album is a thoroughly-captivating listen, front to back.
Furthermore, Scorched’s creative use of the stereo system (as opposed to mono recordings) is extremely clever. Well, I guess there aren’t very many mono recordings being made today in the music world, but a lot of productions sure as hell might be. Every once and a while you’ll hear a difference between the left and right channels of your speakers, but for the most part, that’s all you’ll get. However, there are so many moments on the album where Scorched slows down their music to throw the listener off guard, and then they’ll introduce a riff solely through the left channel, basically flipping you from your chair. Okay, maybe its not that drastic. I really like death metal. While these small creative parts are indeed minor, it demonstrates the effort that Scorched puts into their craft. Its the little things!
I also enjoyed how the three singles released prior to the album’s unveiling were all deeper cuts. The first three tracks of Ecliptic Butchery will only have been heard by listeners when the album was officially released, which results in an exciting and fresh experience right off the bat, rather than having your first three album tracks feel old when your album drops.
Finally, “Dissected Humanity” closes off the album, and this is clearly the track whereby Scorched unleashed their corny inhibitions. See, with an album like this, the artist’s desire is most likely to introduce a bunch of spaceship noises and audio samples from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Luckily, Scorched veered away from these desires, and saved them all for the last track. “Dissected Humanity” opens with the voice of a woman discussing her abduction, and closes with some eerie sawing noises – somebody must be cutting up campfire wood or something. Scorched clearly just let loose on this track, and the added samples add yet another enjoyable aspect to their music.
There we have it, folks; yet another blend of old-school death metal and material from fresh young minds. This is more of an intellectual album in the sense that you have to listen to it to appreciate its various intricacies. The crawling sections, proficient use of both audio channels, and an overarching diversity all attribute to this album’s success. Pick it up now via 20 Buck Spin; another addition to their stellar 2018 discography.