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“Black Tar” Album Review: An Exercise in Two-Fisted Brutality

Artist: Scalp

Album: Black Tar (via Closed Casket Activities)

Release Date: 01/13/23

Hailing from Southern California, Scalp enters the new year with their sophomore LP Black Tar and wastes no time delivering ferocious riffs and livid breakdowns with some of the most immaculately abrasive production put to sound.

At the center of Black Tar is a blistering and spiteful outlook on life experiences ranging from addiction to religion, psychosis, and loss all while delivering blistering, catchy riffs, and heavy breakdowns. Each instrument is down-tuned, honed in, and ready to drag you across concrete all while the tight-knit and volatile vocal performance cements a feeling of impending combustion. This time around the band hit the studio with Taylor Young (Nails, God’s Hate) at the Pit recording studio, known best for bombastic production and the pairing does not disappoint. Pitch black guitar tone, meaty bass, and an incredibly sharp snare make this a match made in heaven for fans and newcomers alike.

Considering this LP clocks in at just over 12 minutes, each track flows into one another almost seamlessly with “Black Tar” and “Consumer Ethics” being the most standout with the most heavy-hitting blast beats and mid-tempo riffs. Amidst the aggression, there are moments of monotony in which the group crutches on the genre trope of an introduction that feels partially detached from the rest of the tracks and repetitive bridges that momentarily lose momentum, but the shortened song length ensures this soured feeling does not last. As “Broken Vein” ends abruptly and closes the record there is a lack of closure that seemingly fits the atmosphere of the record, however, this might leave listeners wishing there was more to the output. In moments it feels as if this being released as an EP would be more fitting, but this shortened runtime only incentivizes my desire to get back into it and listen again from top to bottom.

Short, Sweet, and pissed.

Go listen to it.

Standout Tracks: Consumer Ethics, Diabetic Necrosis, and Jesus is God

Sonically Similar to: Gulch, Infernal Coil, Killing Pace, Nails, Wound Man

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