Soulscar
Victim Impact Statement

Now that the Northern melodic death metal bands seem to be leaning towards more accessible tones, the battleground has opened up for the acts in the American continent. Quite surprisingly one of such newcomer bands, Soulscar, hails from Canada and even more surprisingly – there is little to be heard of the metalcore influence that’s usually quite easy to spot on the American counterparts. Initially the music on the album, Victim Impact Statement, reminded me quite a bit of later Carcass (not least because of the growled vocals) and Finland’s, now long defunct, Gandalf with somewhat more unadorned touch. Simpler, perhaps, but not boring by any means as Soulscar throws in some personality of their own to the mix.

The pure groove has been changed with more hints of melody that are further emphasized with more acoustic parts and most notably, with clean singing. Don’t falter into despair, as it’s quite a different from the clean singing of Anders Friden and it’s used quite tastefully; it never really arises to the top of the game but rather plays as an construction element in the background. Production is clean but deep, as the bass plays quite dominantly in the overall mix. At times the image of Tourniquet’s Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm pushed into my mind and not always solely on production’s behalf.

I was rather skeptical about the album after the first song, “Unmade”, as it seemed to start dragging somewhere in the middle and it appeared to become one of those songs that have little to offer. Luckily, it turned out that it was the only bullet that missed its mark as the following songs didn’t make me cringe in agony. I almost feared of the crime repeating when the first notes of the third song, “Cast Aside”, appeared from the speakers as the song starts out in the fashion in which countless of other ‘starting bands’ have started their ‘more rock’ -songs in the past. I can almost swear the notes played at the beginning are part of some example in the book “How to become a Rock Star ABC”. For the band’s own benefit, they quickly lose those notes and steer the song the other way. While the track is probably the lightest sounding of ’em all on the album, with almost cheerful tones playing through most of it, it also breathes freshness to rest of the songs. Alone, I’d probably detest it but in context it works like a charm. Truly confusing. After that, the gear gets locked down to the meaner thrashtastic gear where things rock and roll without problems. Just like they should — although, the breakdown part halfway through the album on the song “Ultimatum” was memorably pleasing. One thing I would have changed though, was the ending. The track before last, “To The Pain” features a part at the end of it that could have been put on repeat for a couple of minutes and to which it would have been perfect to fade out the album. But since the piano outro works also quite well (should have been longer though!) – I guess I shouldn’t really complain. Ah well.

While I wouldn’t give these guys any awards or nominations, I didn’t go out and pour gasoline and throw fire over the album either. Good album, nothing more – nothing less. Hopefully the next time we’ll hear something that people can really get excited about.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
January 18th, 2005

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