You may be familiar with the name Joey Jordison, as a drummer he has lent his talents to the likes of Ministry, Metallica, Korn,and Rob Zombie over the years, as well as being a songwriter/Producer for Roadrunner Records during the All-Star sessions. He played guitar and was the driving force in the Murderdolls and has also produced records for 3 Inches of Blood. All of this on top of his day job in small Iowa based band Slipknot (I’ve heard good things about them). But as they say, your idle hands are the devil’s playground, and so he is back with another project in the form of Scar The Martyr, featuring members of Darkest Hour, Strapping Young Lad and studio keys from Nine Inch Nails‘ Chris Vrenna.
There is always the temptation to judge a side project from any artist that is well known based purely on who that is and what their day job is. The case can be made that you could do that with Scar The Martyr, as this has Joey Jordison‘s fingerprints all over it, but at the same time it sounds like it’s own thing as well. There is no denying that if you really really listen to it, you can hear trace elements of any of the bands listed above, but it doesn’t pander to that, or them. It just shows that after working with so many artists over your career that you have picked up influences along the way.
But how does the Scar The Martyr album stand up as a record and new project in itself? Well, I’ve been living with the album for about a week now and I really love it, from the opening of ‘Dark Ages’ all the way through to the closing notes of ‘Last night on Earth’ I was totally blown away, not just by how good the album itself was, but by how eclectic the material was as well. From the heaviness of the aforementioned ‘Dark Ages,’ ‘Blood Host’ and ‘Prayer for Prey,’ to the 80’s goth sound on ‘Cruel Ocean’ and even the tempo changing ‘White Nights in a Day Room.’ There is such a wide range of tempos, moods and sounds that really pull together a varied, layered, and whole sounding record.
Lyrically, as well, the album wasn’t what I was expecting, the album delivers lyrics that are not only hooky, but they also have some real emotional resonance and weight behind them which is refreshing and gives the album that extra layer of maturity and edge to it. The hardest thing to believe about the Scar the Martyr album is that this is a band that hasn’t been together very long and this is their first and possibly only album together, and with that they have released something that is so pure and well rounded. An accomplishment that a lot of bands can’t even achieve after a career’s worth of trying, which I think goes to show how well focused and well put together the players in this particular band are.
I mentioned before that the album has Joey Jordison‘s fingerprints all over it and without a doubt it is his DNA that runs through the album. However, it is vocalist Henry Derek that is the heart of this band, his vocals are some of the most unique and diverse that I’ve heard on a metal album in quite some time. This is where I think, with Henry Derek, Scar The Martyr have found their secret weapon, because in the hands of a lesser vocalist this album might not have had quite the impact that it has with him on board.
Overall, Scar The Martyr have delivered one of the most impressive, unique and diverse debut album’s that I’ve heard in a very long time. I would love them to become a full time band and go on to release a ton of album’s that not only improve on this, but also show them growing as a unit, although I realise that might not happen. So, if this is to be a one off then it is one hell of an album to stand as a testament to what they were/are all about and it makes it that much more special.