Death Metal, Deathgrind, Hardcore, Metal, Punk

Scalp – Domestic Extremity (Review)

Band: Scalp
Album: Domestic Extremity
Genre: Deathgrind / Hardcore
Country: USA
Release Date: 13th of November, 2020
Released via Creator-Destructor Records / Lower Class Kids Records
Cover Artwork: © Creator-Destructor Records

When taking the first look at the cover of this release you’d probably not expect to dive into easy listening music – and you’re damn right. This band did by no means intend you to just enjoy this record while listening – you’re rather supposed to go on a rampage raging about anything that might cross your way. Scalp is a 4-member outfit from California that released their first EP with Domestic Extremity after only having released one demo before. On this EP, the band manages to merge a damn load of different genres, charging everything with politically enraged and furious sounds at absolute maximum.

The first track “No Hope” immediately pushes you right into the middle of the sound of this band without any warning shot. After some sort of a vigorous intro, a mixture of Death Metal and Deathgrind tone combined with the moshing rhythm of Hardcore leads you into this track before energetically switching right into a Grindcore speed that forces the entire message of the track down your throat. On a lot of albums, especially when jumping between Death Metal and Deathgrind, it is at some spot possible to pin down the major influence a band takes their sound from. When regarding this release though, it is absolutely impossible to do so, since this band jumps on almost every genre that occurred between Hardcore and Grindcore, fully embracing these combinations at the very best.

The most striking and also most obviously positive factor on this release comes from the drums. The mixing, the playing, the playstyle, the mastering – everything is where it is supposed to be. When jumping between numerous genres, drummer Luke Smith is capable of pushing back and forth regarding the speed with seemingly no effort at all. The tempo on this release changes between groovy Punk drums, vigorous Grindcore hammering, pushing Death Metal blast beats and other features almost seamlessly. Especially when entering those slower mosh parts that make use of grooving Hardcore drums, the mix of the snare comes into the forefront. The frequency of this snare seems to be in a constant fight with the guitar sound, building up a synergy that constructs the feeling of every single snare hit being a goddamn slap right in your face.

The vocals do not differ from the skills of the drummer at all. It seems as if the aim of not setting down for any genre and thus creating a release that is very difficult to sort in was also an intention of vocalist Cole Rogers as well. In Extreme Metal, you have a lot of bands that are able to switch between different styles of growling, shouting or screaming. However, after a few tracks you get to know the pitches at which vocalists feel most comfortable regarding the different styles they use. On this release, though, it feels as if the capability of seamlessly switching from lowest to highest pitch is no big deal at all. Obviously, guitarist Devan Fuentes also supports with the vocals, which makes it a little difficult to differentiate who is singing, but the variation is massive and another major factor that underlines the fact of this album not getting boring at all.

It is a little weird to begin with this statement, but the guitars on this release most prominently know when NOT to play. Maybe we start from the beginning. The guitar sound is absolutely feedback-laden with distortion to the max and either crushes you on those slow mosh parts or takes you close to a heart attack when fighting with the drums for the first spot. Nevertheless, the mosh parts take a larger role on this release when compared to the energetic blast drumming. Especially at those slow sequences, the guitars know at what spot to take a halt, only to kick in a few moment later and thus have this moment of breaking down everything. If the guitars had competed for more playtime at those sequences, the most salient vibe would probably have been killed, but they didn’t and because of that you get a release that probably ruins your house whenever you’re gonna listen to this in your living room.

On top of those absolutely positive features, the lyrics still need to be mentioned because all of that rage that is channeled into this music also has quite a political stance, which was the final point that convinced me from this EP. Ranging from the massive problems of national or religious identity in the US over the interconnected omnipresent issue of racism to resignation and hatred – Scalp is not only angry – they have something to say and you should better listen.

When taking into consideration that this is the first EP after only one demo before, you get to think that those musicians certainly aren’t new to the game at all. The energy, the content, the rage and the wildfire of different sounds on this release made it an absolute highlight of 2020 to me. Unfortunately, I only started listening deeper into this release when my AOTY list as already finished, because Scalp would have been in this list otherwise. If you liked Terminal Nation in 2020 or any other of the currently upcoming politically charged Death Metal and Hardcore mixture bands, Scalp definitely is worth listening because you are gonna get a very distinctive bolt of fury that is not gonna let you go for a long time – get fucking angry when listening to this release – fuck your control.

This album was brought to us via Creator-Destructor-Records in many different pressings on vinyl. The 1st pressing is gone already, yet the 2nd pressing was dropped just recently and if you are quick enough you might get your hands at one of those rare colors as well. Apart from that, TMB crew member Nino brought out the EU tape version via his label Lower Class Kids Records. The special edition of this tape was sold out within minutes, the regular version is also gone already unfortunately. Better be quick with the vinyl version!

Rating: 9 out of 10.

9 / 10

Favorite Tracks:
“Crouch”
“Scalp”

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