You might be thinking, “Scorched? Didn’t they put out an album earlier this year?” You’d be right. Back in early April, Pittsburgh-based label 20 Buck Spin released Excavated for Evisceration, a compilation of their 2015 and 2017 demo tapes. Now, in late September, Scorched is seemingly proud to release Ecliptic Butchery, a full-length release (also on 20 Buck Spin) of entirely new material. And this one, well, it’s a bloody ripper.
Scorched’s prior LP, Echoes of Dismemberment, released in 2016 suffered from odd construction. Extended interludes helped stretch the effort to a full-length but detracted from the flow created by their riff-heavy composition. While there were absolute bangers scattered throughout, that effort failed to take hold and award Scorched the praise and due deserved.
After a few lineup changes, finally solidifying what is an absolutely formidable guitar outfit to backup a man with all the stage presence and charisma of Corpsegrinder, the pretense and fluff burned away, leaving a core that can make the walls of any venue shake.
The gems lie in wait, deep in jungle of the b-side. “Darkness Infests” opens ominously. Guitars take the background as a tribal rhythm pours over the toms. Matt Kapa’s powerful and energetic voice growls the call. As the track slides into motion, guitars pick themselves into a consistent, infectious riff around the two-minute mark. It’s these halting moments, when the faster, more eclectic guitar-driven paths all lead to the same riff, to the same thundering end, that Scorched is at their best. Even if the “main” riff lasts fifteen seconds (or less) it’s a riff sure to stick with you late in the night as you attempt to squeeze the last iota of toothpaste out of the tube.
Following is “Barbarous Experimentation,” the track that will immediately endear Scorched to your heart, making them a shoe-in as a benefactor in your last will and testament. Here, the drums, which often play a supporting role elsewhere, take the lead by clanging cymbal centers, firing off rolling tom attacks and generally smashing heart valves through sheer double-bass determination. The production is also on full display, layering guitars in an almost spooky manner, leaving the leads to swish, swirl and squeal like angry ghosts.
This is all, of course, not to say that the beginning of the album isn’t stellar in its own right. The A-side can hold up to nearly any death metal album of recent release. For example, “Bodies Collect” is a bouncing track full of swinging guitars, often alternating their attack in a playful style, blistering blasts and the absolutely crushing vocal abilities of Kapa. It should be noted that the guitar solos, which are also frequently scattered among the duo of axe-swingers, are melodic, searing and full of old school squeals and whammy dives.
The mood of Ecliptic Butchery is obvious from one glance at its epic cover. The warm, rich tones of red and green, combined with the near 1960s film noir-style gore perfectly match the drill-like, sawing sounds put out by the guitar and the bludgeoning attack of the drums and bass. Scorched, while being absolutely serious business, is a fun, playful take on old school death metal with just a hint of gore. Scorched are not so much an objective band as an external organ, dragging your body through the sludge and grime of death metal, pulsating to keep you alive. They always know when to drop the hammer, groove the absolute fuck out and drag you deep into their laboratory of horrors.