Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Scorpion Child "Scorpion Child"

If you read my review on Monster Truck, you’d have read a bunch of words that sum up to me ranting and raving about a band finally able to harness the sound of classic hard rock and successfully modernize it and call the style their own. After a number of bands that I have heard, some popular and some underground, who concentrate on trying so hard to sound like what much of them refer to as the good old days of rock, but lacking any true identity, Monster Truck turned my hopes, and the hopes of many people in the world, including Slash, that the future of hard rock was in good hands.

Then when I had heard of Scorpion Child, I was officially convinced that Monster Truck would not be carrying the torch alone. I’m not sure where they came from, other than the fact that they hail from Texas, they just kind of appeared out of nowhere. Someone, at Nuclear Blast Records, I don’t know who, found them and signed them and then shoved rockets up their asses and sent them on to none other than the Rockstar Mayhem Festival tour this summer, giving them obvious and much deserved exposure continent-wide. All of this happening before they even released their first album too.

Well, on June 25, their self titled debut album was officially released, in rather healthy quantities across North America (and hopefully outside the continent as well, but I’m not quite sure). Having picked up the album, I heard instantly the intelligence in the music they were making; the difference in hard rock styles, not just sounding like another coming of a band like Led Zeppelin like SO many bands try to be. Though it does have its Zeppelin moments, it has its Black Sabbath moments as well as its southern rock influenced moments, and the list goes on. Lead vocalist Aryn Jonathan Black has an uncannily similar voice to Dave King of Fastway. For those who haven’t heard of Fastway, they were pretty similar in style and acclaimed enough at their time for doing almost exactly what Scorpion Child are doing.

The album starts right off with its blues roots. Kings Highway is a slow groovy song that moves you all the way through. It is a bit riff heavy, like a classic rock song. The second track, Polygon of Eyes turns things up a number of notches. This high speed rocker shows some (emphasis on SOME) thrash influences.

The Secret Spot continues to slightly change the band’s sound. This song retains a groove similar to Kings Highway, but is far heavier. So far the band has shown that they definitely know how to hook a listener. Salvation Slave slows things back down to Kings Highway’s groove, but this song sounds more like a song you can ride down an open road with in your car; more so than any other song on the album.

Before the album came out, I could only find two songs to listen to in order to get an idea of what the band sounded like and if I should even bother buying the CD when it came out. The first was Polygon of Eyes, and the second was Liquor. While I felt this song lacked a bit of a modern identity, this song was the first time I heard how melodically gifted Aryn is as a singer. Rather than just using the voice he has to sing irrelevantly in to a microphone, he takes advantage of his 70’s friendly pipes and comes up with melodies which singers in the 70’s had no idea they were capable of.

I enjoy that the band included a ballad. I like that they don’t have too much pride as to neglect such emotions that it takes to write a song like Antioch. I also like how this song, specifically, just keeps getting more and more intense as it goes on. It is also placed at a point in the album that is not too late, and not too early. By this point, you’d know the bands sound well enough to know they can release a slow song such as this one, but there are enough songs that come after it to reinstate the hard rock style of the band in to the minds of its listeners.

In The Arms Of Ecstasy is, what I believe to be the most modern sounding song on the album. What I mean by this is that it doesn’t necessarily sound like any modern rock songs, but with the exception on the guitar tones, the song doesn’t sound like it could have fit in to the classic rock era of music similar to how their other songs sound. That’s an opinion of course, I’m sure many people out there can point out similarities to 70’s artists, as can I, but not as much as other songs on the album.

Paradigm is one last fast paced no prisoner’s rock song. It’s probably even the fastest song on the album. It sets things up well for the albums final track, Red Blood (The River Flows). This song is a well chosen closing track for the album because it is musically superior to pretty much the rest of the album. It starts off acoustically, sounding like a song that could fit in to any musical era going back to Joni Mitchell’s innovative early days. The song eventually breaks in to a heartfelt rock song, not too fast, perhaps a tad too slow, but still to call it enjoyable would be far too much of an understatement. The song ends with a pretty badass solo and then is followed by about six minutes of sound effects of crickets, creating an illusion of whatever the listener can imagine. I personally think of a vacant desert road.

Though I regard this band as an American Monster Truck, the two bands actually have little in common in terms of sound. If you were to ask me, I’d say there is much more of a classic rock sound in Scorpion Child’s sound. They both, however, have the same goal. They are not afraid of wearing their influence on their sleeve of a time where they believe music was at its best, but at the same time they know how to make it appealing to modern rock listeners. As opposed to just being a Led Zeppelin spin-off; trying to make music they believe Zeppelin would still be making if they made music today, Scorpion Child write music for themselves and sound like they’re more than comfortable doing it. My friend Ray Van Horn Jr. at Blabbermouth states that this album is hard to categorize. That would be the case for anyone over thinking it. Really this album is a hard rock album, and someday soon Scorpion Child’s name will be mentioned in the same sentences as the best modern and classic hard rock artists in the music business.


Polygon of Eyes” –­ It’s hard to think of a reason why this song is NOT the highlight of the album. It captures its listener instantly with its fast and heavy intro, showing how the band can be considered a heavy metal band, in a sense, but then it slows down to a slow groove in its chorus to glue up the song to being more than just a fast paced thrashy song. It has one of the best guitar solos; it has vocal harmonies that match the best of the rest of the album, and when it ends, it feels like it just ends too soon.



8.5 (Out of 10)


Track List:

King’s Highway  
Polygon of Eyes  
The Secret Spot  
Salvation Slave  
In The Arms of Ecstasy  
Red Blood (The River Flows)  


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