Under A Blackened Sky

Scent Of Remains

"Under A Blackened Sky" comes forth like a funnel tornado reaching out with its twisted, […]
By H.P. Buttcraft
February 17, 2014
Scent Of Remains - Under A Blackened Sky album cover

"Under A Blackened Sky" comes forth like a funnel tornado reaching out with its twisted, thin finger to touch the earth it is about to decimate. What SCENT OF REMAINS gets completely right about their own music is that they understand that for Heavy Metal music to work, you have to give atomic weight to the sound vibrations that are hitting the air. This science of understanding the tangibility of sound becomes evident in the energies that are communicated through the tracks of "Under A Blackened Sky".

There are so many comparisons people will draw between SCENT OF REMAINS and LAMB OF GOD. I don't think Hardcore fans of LAMB OF GOD's crowd would have a hard time getting into SCENT OF REMAINS. There are so many elements to this album that hearken back to albums like "New American Gospel". I want to remain neutral about whether this hinders or helps the band's exposure. As far as LAMB OF GOD goes, I can't think of too many other bands that try to derive their music from theirs so maybe there's something to this. Like I mentioned before, if you consider yourself a fan of LAMB OF GOD then you will find a lot to like from SCENT OF REMAINS. If you're not very particular about LAMB OF GOD, you might want to skip this album altogether. In that case, there is nothing that SCENT OF REMAINS does that will win you over.

Personally, I am not ecstatic about LAMB OF GOD but I still enjoy them way more than most other Metal bands that have found more mainstream audiences. You could say that, because of this, I was able to get into "Under A Blackened Sky" much easier. The album has a lot of heavy hitting tracks, my favorites being "From Ash We Rise", "Unholy", and the immensely enjoyable "BTK". You will have to physically restrain yourself from getting infected by the addictive chorus of this song; "BIND! TORTURE! KILL!"

The growls and screams throughout this record are excellent. Michael Yates' clean singing has its shining moments, like on the acoustic treat "Wakefield" where his singing voice becomes incredibly moving. The interjections of this kind of singing with his screams al'a Randy Blythe (you can hear examples of this on "Snake in the Grass" & "Parasite") feel forced into the songs. The music isn't nearly as melodic enough to make the singing really come out the way the screams come out over the riffs, which are more rhythmic and a lot of the lead trickery is saved for the guitar solos.

Speaking of which, these solos are really good. These are not carried so much by their technical prowess but more by a soulful approach, which draw from influential Classic Rock bands like THIN LIZZY and LYNYRD SKYNYRD, mainly minor pentatonic sorcery courtesy of Herb Himes that reminds me a lot of Jerry Cantrell.

Some moments are a little too cliché, like on "This Present Darkness". It starts as a straightforward Metal song that gets right into the rhythmic grooves but before long, some Poppy hooks get thrown into the song. That song is saved almost entirely by the amazing drum work. The riffs on the intro to "Shepherd" that feel like they were written on autopilot since the rest of the song doesn't even sound remotely like that riff. It's awkward having that song start with that riff but then move into some Metalcore beat down riffs. But at least the linear line of energy that runs through this record is never lost. Between the incredibly heavy riffs that get thrown at the listener, "Under A Black Sky" is an album that has an atmosphere that seem indestructible and parts where the music becomes as vulnerable as an open wound.

This album's praises seem long overdue. I was quite pleased with this release and I would definitely recommend this album to fans of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, GOD FORBID, and CHIMAIRA. Oh yeah, and that LAMB OF GOD band too, I suppose.

8 / 10


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"Under A Blackened Sky" Track-listing:

1. F.Y.F.T.
2. The Forfeit
3. Hold You Under
4. From Ash We Rise
5. BTK
6. Exhale, Oblivion
7. Wakefield
8. This Present Darkness
9. Shepherd
10. Snake in the Grass
11. Parasite
12. Unholy
13. These Dying Days

Scent Of Remains Lineup:

Jeremy Powers - Bass, Vocals
Herb Himes - Guitar
Brian Leemings - Guitar
Michael Yates - Vocals
Paul Shippers - Drums

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