Masachist: Scorned

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Masachist: Scorned
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Masachist: Scorned
Death Metal
Selfmadegod Records
September 3rd, 2012
Release length: 38:55
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Poland’s Masachist has been in existence since 2005, but has stayed pretty well under the radar. 2007 saw their first and only demo at this point, and in early 2009, the group issued their debut album Death March Fury through Witching Hour Productions. Three years later, they find themselves working with the new-ish underground powerhouse Selfmadegod Records to release their follow-up recording, Scorned. But, given the less-than-pleasant reaction to their previous outing, will this album be another bland venture, or does Masachist have something more in store for the listener?

The audio to this recording may not be the most spectacular, but it definitely works where it counts. The crisper touch gives the blunt edge of the mid-range distortion, and the moderate bass presence that could have been deeper a bit more bite, though the aforementioned chords don’t always make the most resounding impact. The snares of the drum kit sound thick and muffled, pushed to the forefront of the mix against some superb bass kicks with a strong click that tears through everything in its way, along with some cymbals that sound alright, but are nothing that impressive, as well as can just be repetitive at times outside of the loud crashes. The vocals are handled well, having a level higher than the guitars, crisp, and decipherable, working well with some of the catchier material, including the bludgeoning, commanding marching passages.

That, as well as a lot of blastbeat sections are what make up a lot of this album. While Scorned doesn’t always present the most engaging material, it definitely offers up plenty of material that make you feel as though you are marching to your own death, or coming back from it. Unfortunately, that’s not really how the album starts. “Drilling the Nerves” will give you the wrong idea about the band, as it comes off more like an extended Deathcore breakdown with little ones thrown in. It does hold a commanding presence, and the additional simplistic keyboards add a bit of a haunting atmosphere. Thankfully, this is the only song that really throws this approach at you, and “The Process of Elimination” brings a much stronger and ruthless performance. Amid the furious blasting of the main passages, the chorus has some slightly technical notes being performed, though around the two and a half minute mark the music does become a bit hollow. However, the chorus itself really sticks out thanks to the punishing marching drum work and faster chords, demanding you to bang your head along despite the music itself not forcing you to do so.

The full potential of this approach doesn’t really shine through until “Manifesto (100% D.M.K.M.).” This is one of the more impressive tracks, and it blends the blasting passages well with some additional voice distortions like a slow building echo effect prior to the words being snarled. The atmosphere of the song is truly creepy and demanding at the same time instead of just each reflected in a certain part. The guitar solo here sounds great and is well fitting too, unlike some of the others before and after that just don’t sound right. “Opposing Normality” has its share of emptier moments, but overall does a good job of weaving a climactic march once more, segwaying out of some catchier grooves into ballistic blastbeats that will pound your head against the nearest large rock. The vocals work well with the far more energetic performance from the guitars, incorporating some additional intensity. “Liberation” cranks up the punishment with a strong focus on speed through much of the song, and even the slower sections that sound somewhat barren work out well thanks to the larger focus on the bass, as well as shifting between the various approaches, such as the tighter leads that erupt in a technical manner around the two minute point.

While there are some pretty dominating tracks offered here, Scorned does have its downfalls. Sometimes the material just doesn’t work out, such as some of the atmospheric or chaotic lead chords that will appear. “Higher Authority” utilizes some slower riffs that don’t match the faster pace of the song, nor really make much of an impact. “Straight and Narrow Path” has this sort of atmosphere enducing guitar work, but while not in a manner of chaos, it still just doesn’t sound that great, utilizing more technical chords that just end up hollow and unimpressive. There’s also the most random of tennor vocals that erupt out of nowhere on “Inner Void,” which is a solid song and very suiting climax to the album. This fails to establish much of an environment, especially at how loud it is during its rather short lifespan. Sadly, the latter of those two words can describe much of the album. Scorned often sounds like the music of a bloody, fog-soaked battlefield, but there’s no real bite to the music to make you want to headbang along unless it goes into the most intense of territories at high speeds, leaving many songs to sound good, but greatly lacking bite, and even a rich output.

In the end, Masachist present an album with plenty of potential, as well as a goal or concept in mind, but unfortunately none of that was capitalized on well enough to really make it stand out in a positive manner. While the atmosphere is obvious, and the marching passages are worth checking out, Scorned ends up sounding somewhat sterile thanks to the aforementioned reasons, but largely the somewhat hollow passages or tracks you’ll find scattered about. Unfortunately, for a follow-up to a less-than-well-received album from the press and Metal community, this doesn’t do much to put many of the concerns to rest. This isn’t a bad effort, but given that the music won’t leave you coming back for many repeat spins, or even being all that memorable, this is one worth sampling before running out to buy.

01. Drilling the Nerves – 5:48
02. The Process of Elimination – 3:06
03. Straight and Narrow Path – 4:54
04. Manifesto (100% D.M.K.M.) – 4:21
05. Higher Authority – 3:49
06. Opposing Normality – 4:01
07. Liberation – 3:59
08. Liberation part II – 1:21
09. Inner Void – 7:36

Overall Score: 6.5/10
Masachist (band)
Masachist (logo)Digital review copy of this release provided by Selfmadegod Records via Earsplit PR.