Scars On Murmansk - Travelling Through Dark Places

Scars On Murmansk are a death metal band from France and 'Travelling Through Dark Places' is their debut EP. It's heavy, but also very melodic at times with some nod towards the groove rhythms of thrash metal. However, the deep gutteral vocals pretty much lean this towards death metal without any questions asked. At other times there is a raw scream involved, but mostly fans will be stuck with the lower vocals, which sound impressive at first, but often seem to get a bit too gutteral to really live up to their full potential. However, the music makes up for that, such as with the title track and how it starts out catchy and hard, and then at some point softens up for a few technical guitar moments that allows the listener to focus on that, before jumping back into the heavy stuff. Throughout all the music is a subliminal layer of melody so it doesn't just feel like everything is cohesively bleeding together so it becomes hard to separate drums, from guitars, from bass, from vocals. Other tracks like "Buried Dreams" are more cohesive and faster, but at the same time these feature exclusive melodic bits with the guitars which sound gothic, atmospheric, and really amp up the anticipation of what is to come. There is even a bit of militaristic marching rhythm near the end of the track, which really steps away from the usual 'blast beat galore' that populates most of the early part of the track.

As a result, Scars On Murmansk can be considered a half and half band: one part fury and also one part melody. Track after track on their EP they try to vary things up as much as possible without sounding too monotonous and much more dynamic. The album isn't as complex as some melodic or technical death metal albums; in fact, with all the chugging going on, one could say this group is similar to a deathcore band like Winds of Plague. However, this is only a slight comparison, as while Winds Of Plague may be more epic, Scars On Murmansk are better with mixing aggression with melody for a more balanced sound rather than sticking to a one sided formula of all chugs and growls. Even though this EP is short, it is a good start for the band and fans of death metal in general that isn't too old school and has some modern touches to it- such as the bands of the late 90s and early 2000- will find this a good listen till a full length album is produced.

  1. Through Dark Places
  2. My Death
  3. Buried Dreams
  4. Blind
  5. Dark New Messiah

Self released
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Apr 17, 2011

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