|Ever wonder what Scariot means? Actually, it’s the nickname Judas came up for himself, hoping to hear whispers of “Oh man, it’s Scariot! That dude sold out the son of God, man! He must have cojones like ballista rocks!”. Turned out people just kept saying “Hey Jude … (you loser),” till he freaked out and hung himself. True story.Scariot have kept a broad blueprint to follow, riff-heavy melodic metal, and made room to mix things up a bit within that area. It’s more likely that the stylistic differences in their catalog are a reflection of the lineup changes than any premeditated intent. When Steffan Schultze was in the band, it leaned towards a melo-death feel, while his replacement by Oddlief Stensland made things thrashier. Still, variety’s not a bad thing by any means.
So, what have Scariot been up to? Well, Stensland and Tor Atle Andersen left to form Communic, and founding member/guitar-wielder Daniel Olaisen hired a couple of guys by the names of Øyvind Hægeland and Asgeir Mickelson to replace them. Now these guys have a few bands to their credit, but are probably most notorious for being in Spiral Architect and making the awesomely bizarre A Sceptic’s Universe, which manages to furrow brows in bewilderment even today. And if that weren’t enough, bass legend Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, Death) was drafted as well. So far, close enough to an all-star team to get kicked about.
So, they sound different now. Surprise! Hægeland’s style of clean singing and dissonant harmonies bring a new dimension to what is essentially the same breed of music. It’s debatable whether this is better – at times, you can’t help wishing for a bit more bite, but there’s still plenty of interesting dynamics formed here, thanks in a big way to the generous John Arch (Fates Warning) influence. The newfound harmonies make for some memorable choruses too – I have a boner for Sickening World and Noble Quest in that department.
As for the instrumental section, there’s still plenty of catchy riffs running around, and some great progressions where they seem to be leading one way and then just switch track so suddenly and smoothly that if you’re not paying attention, you find yourself speeding off a cliff-edge, saying “Where the hell did the road go?!” Free fall – great way to go out, though.
DiGiorgio does a hell of a job holding this up at the bottom end (like you were expecting any less) and the bass is thankfully pushed up in the mix to let you know just that. Mickelson is also pretty tight on the drums, and his bizarro tendencies only come out once in a while with some weird broken rolls, which sound pretty cool after a while.
Now, on to the juicy part. As some of you may have heard, a nearly full-strength Spiral Architect re-unite to cover the Death song, Symbolic. I can imagine a whole bunch of purists getting worked up about the sacrilege of constructing vocal lines over Schuldiner’s growls, and I also imagine that I might be in a minority when I say that I think they’ve done a pretty good job with it. Hey, if you can do death metal covers of Them Bones (thanks, Grave) and Black Night (yeah you, Deicide), turnabout is fair play.
So, interesting output from a very talented bunch of fellows, and a solid album overall. Thumbs up; check it out.
Daniel Olaisen – Guitars
Øyvind Hægeland – Vocals
Asgeir Mickelson – Drums
Steve DiGiorgio – Bass
Year of release: 2007
Label: FaceFront records
Asgeir Mickelson’s Myspace page (streaming songs from Momentum Shift available)