3 Minute Silence, the new album from Portuguese metalers Scar For Life, is not arguably an album to top your best of the year list but is one which is more likely to be revisited more often than many others this year. It is a vibrant and imaginative blend of melodic rock forged with heavier extremes to stretch and push the sound and invention of the band. It has a creative craft which captivates throughout and intelligence to its sound and composition which one can only be impressed and satisfied by.
Formed in 2008 by guitarist Alexandre Santos (Redstains), the band has built up a good and strong reputation over the past years as it evolved its sound and went through member changes. 3 Minute Silence is the third album from Scar For Life and the first with the new line-up of Leonel Silva (vocals), João Colaço (ex-More Than A Thousand) (drums), Nelson Raposo (piano) alongside Santos (rhythm and lead guitars/bass). The release also sees Sergio Faria offering the lead guitars on Before The Storm and Brave Enough as well as some featured guests. Released through Infektion Records the new album is called ‘their most ambitious work to date exploring a heavier and more melodic side of Scar For Life’. To be honest with the album being our introduction to the band we can only trust the words in relation to previous releases but 3 Minute Silence certainly is a collection of songs which are powerful, superbly crafted, and unlikely to make just light weight impressions on their listeners.
The album opens with easily its best track though all are decent rivals in their distinctive ways. Last Crow is a thumping introduction to the release, its towering combative rhythms and gnarly bass lines irresistible almost verging on brutal. As the guitars whip up a heated frenzy the vocals of Silva snarl and spit with aggression before exploding into an outstanding melodic rock delivery subsequently entwining both as the track progresses magnificently. The song is a riot of bruising riffs and sharp melodic invention fused with high octane energy and emotive sonic grandeur from the guitars and clean vocals. With its hungry near metalcore/death metal gait the song is outstanding, a thrilling and riveting explosion of raw intensity and inventive adventure. Unfortunately this is the only time the album really fuses the furthest reaches of the extremes involved and for personal tastes one cannot help thinking that if the whole release had been approached from the same direction this would surely be an album of the year contender here.
To be fair though the rest of the release is nothing less than impressive just in a different way, the songs eclectic and individual which one can never find a resistance to. The following Metabolic and White Shades for example both excite and please with their more conservative though no less inventive base. The first is an infectious storm of powerful riffs and rhythms speared by fine melodic craft and an excellent electronic caress upon the ear before the explosive climax. Its successor offers a slower emotive atmosphere to make its introduction, its expressive warmth and charm though still brought with an incendiary bruising breath and captivating melodic elegance.
As mentioned the album features some guests, the first coming on Burn It All with the additional vocals of Finnish vocalist Kari Vähäkuopus (Catamenia). It is another towering track of metal and melodic rock fused into an enterprising and impressive union. It does not venture near the depths and harsh assault of the first song but still offers a thumping mix of power and fine melodic skill. The other guest appearances come from violinist Anne Vitorino d’Almeida on the Celtic toned One More Day and the strongly emotive Old Man, whilst keyboardist Ged Ryland (ex-Ten) lights up the song Brave Enough. This song returns to the more harsh and aggressive presence which opened up the album and again elevates the band onto another plateau from their already heady heights. It is a brawling maelstrom of intensity and energy brought with sheer melodic dazzling beauty which only just falls short of the tasty assault which opened the album.
Scar For Life is a band one can only see getting better and better which ever direction their future explores. We hope it is one with even more attitude and bite though the melodic might they possess, as shown by 3 Minute Silence, must never be diminished. One of the strongest albums this year without doubt.
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