Scars of Tomorrow – Failed Transmissions



When metalcore came along at the turn of the century to wash away the juvenile dross of nu-metal there was much rejoicing. After all, what could go wrong with bands delivering their own interpretation of Slaughter of the Soul’s legacy? Quite a lot in fact as the scene quickly reached saturation point with a seemingly endless parade of silly-haired whippersnappers recycling the same old riffs and same tired themes.


Orange County quintet Scars of Tomorrow never ascended above the D-grade despite releasing five albums in as many years on Victory Records between 2002 and 2006. After originally disbanding in 2007, they have reformed and recorded a new album, Failed Transmissions (Artery). The question is, if they weren’t good enough when the scene was in full swing what relevance do they have now?


The answer is none.


Absence has not made the heart grow fonder and Scars of Tomorrow have not learnt any lessons in their time off. They are still ploughing the exact same furrow they had exhausted of all resources back in 2006, offering up a thoroughly generic and uninspiring selection of Norma Jean-aping riffs combined with the odd It Dies Today-esque melodic flourish and of course, breakdown after goddamn breakdown in case you had forgotten that metalcore bands of this ilk wish they were tough enough to be part of the hardcore scene.


Featuring no memorable, heartstring-tugging choruses, riffs of any power, presence or anything approaching their own identity, the existence of this record is a mystery, for it serves no purpose. Metalcore is dead and buried, the kids have moved on to new and fresher things, and the members of Scars of Tomorrow should be devoting their time into producing music with half an ounce of relevance to today and not just assuming that a half-hour rehash of their old sound will be enough after so long away.


Utterly pointless and shockingly complacent.



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Grave Digger – Return Of The Reaper



It’s a weird universe where Babylon Whores and earthtone9 are only allowed to release three albums, despite being interesting, unique and intelligent bands, distinctive and critically acclaimed who undersold and vanished into the ether (only to return years later to suffer the same fate) and Grave Digger get to release seventeen albums of middle of the road uninspired dross.


Raise your fists and yell… “Fuck off!” For no-one’s favourite band are back! After 30 years of peddling (slightly “harder” than) Running Wild, Judas Priest and Blind Guardian speed and power metal, and 18 years since their best album Tunes Of War (GUN), the ‘Digger release Return Of The Reaper (Napalm).


The band is clearly capable of being competent. Axel Ritt can chug, widdle, and chuck out a bog-standard old metal riff with the hordes. Chris Boltendahl is, as always, a slightly more tuneful Cronos, though notably hasn’t improved his range or delivery over the years, and Stefan Arnold holds down that double-bass and uptempo snare beat that all speed metal requires.


Presenting eleven more predictable slabs of dated speed metal, the German quintet are so deep in their comfort zone it would be surprising if they got off the sofa while recording. Everything is exactly as expected. ‘Satan’s Host’, possibly the pick of the tracks on offer, sounds like an off cut from Running Wild’s early 90’s output and the remainder is Teutonic 80’s speed metal by numbers with choruses and lyrics so cringe-worthy most teenage thrash bands would have binned them off.


 I fail to see the validity of Grave Digger as a current recording artist. They’ve had plenty of chances to say what they’re trying to say, and it wasn’t interesting the last ten times. I wish the band members no ill will, and if people are continuing to support them then fair play to them, why should they pack it in and retire, I just cannot understand who still buys the records of one of the most pointless bands in existence. By all means, tour, do festivals, play the “classics” (do Grave Digger have any classics other than the one about bagpipes?), but no record collection is crying out for a new Grave Digger album in 2014.


4.5 / 10

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