Album Title: Scars
Label: Frontiers Music
Date of Release: 28 January 2022
Here’s a decent little find that was originally hinted at by a follower of my website. Inevitably, given their apparent march towards world domination, this release sees the light of day through Frontiers Music, so don’t expect any nice packaging or extra value for your money here, because that ain’t happening any time soon. But I suppose, if I’m being fair, it should always be about the music first and foremost, so I’ll get off my soapbox now and concentrate on what matters most.
‘Scars’ is the debut album from Nasson Prudant, a guitarist, songwriter and producer from Chile, who has apparently come to the fore thanks to his work with the latest Chaos Magic album, ‘Furyborn’, and ‘The Miror Star’, the debut release from Sinner’s Blood. Having heard neither of these, I come at this review with no knowledge or expectation. The only reference points I have are delivered by the press release which name drops Eclipse, Pretty Maids, and Evergrey as bands that provide inspiration for Nasson’s debut solo release.
Being as fair and honest as I can, I’d have to say that these references aren’t a million miles away from the truth. The music isn’t arguably as heavy and as dark as Evergrey can be, but there are a few similarities to be heard. And there is definitely a melodic hard rock edge to some of the compositions on ‘Scars’, so the Eclipse references aren’t without some merit. However, it might be easier to just refer to Nasson’s music as very competent and enjoyable melodic heavy metal that encompasses a number of different styles across the album; everything from symphonic metal, to Gothic, and from modern metal to classic hard rock is touched upon on and, with more and more listens, it is hard to not fall for its not inconsiderable charms.
On ‘Scars’ Nasson Prudant extends beyond his normal guitar duties to handle the bass, piano, programming and vocals. From there, he is joined by drummer Rodrigo Leiva as well as female vocalist Caterina Nix to add another dimension to some of the songs. But that’s not all, because ‘Scars’ features a handful of guest artists in the form of vocalists Giu Oliver, Mizuho Lin & James Robledo (“We are the Army”), Mistheria who provides additional synths on ‘Mother Moon’, additional vocals from Alessandro del Vecchio on ‘When it Rains’, and guitarist Ignacio Torres who embellishes a trio of songs with lead solos (‘Not Today’, ‘Bringer of Sorrow’ and ‘We are the Army’)
I’m going go start my deeper dive into the music with a duo of my favourite compositions on ‘Scars’, namely ‘Mother Moon’ and ‘On The Other Side’. The former begins quietly but with a dark, foreboding edge, strong orchestration creating a dramatic cinematic introduction. The song builds nicely, to erupt with a muscular riff and a nice melody, the symphonics still an integral part of the soundscape. It’s an incredibly moody composition, a brooding affair that delivers on just about every level – it is heavy, powerful, and highly memorable thanks to some catchy hooks, embellished by a great lead guitar solo. But it’s also nicely paced and put together, with strong contrasts between light and shade. It is also a great song to demonstrate what a god singer Nasson is too. When he pleads to the heavens, it’s quite an arresting sound.
The latter, ‘On The Other Side’ is actually more of a ballad, but it’s a corker. An electronic heartbeat pulses at the start before a brief explosion of orchestration and heaviness enters. It’s gone in a blink to be replaced by a verse comprised of mainly vocals and bass, another introspective and moody affair. However, the chorus is an absolute beast, erupting in a blaze of melodic glory.
What I like about ‘Scars’ is the subtle variety on offer within the eleven tracks. Yes, the album has a general path that it follows, but Nasson isn’t afraid to mix things up a little within the framework of the music. As such, you get upbeat, hard-rocking numbers like ‘King Of Lies’ that walks the fine line between melodic metal and hard rock/AOR thanks to the layered vocals in the chorus, and fine hooks that litter the song, juxtaposed by strong, chugging riffs and no-nonsense drumming from Rodrigo Leiva. Or how about that opening riff on ‘A New Beginning’? This song is the one real time on ‘Scars’ where I can hear those Evergrey references looming large, although these are quickly expunged by a much lighter and breezy chorus than you’d typically hear from the Swedes.
That said, the opening track ‘Not Today’ does also contain the ghost of Evergrey too, but the overall symphonic embellishments are more cinematic and again, there’s a greater melodic hard rock sheen to the brash, memorable chorus that wipes away any darkness that the song may have carried at the outset.
It’s not all positive though, because there are a couple of occasions when the quality dips just a little in my personal opinion. And sadly, given the way ‘Scars’ opens, it is the closing couple of songs that fail to hit me in the same way as some of the earlier songs. ‘We Are The Army’ is one of the tracks that features a number of guests and it begins in hungry, fast fashion, coming out of the blocks in a flurry of power. But I find the ensuing chorus a little average and the more overtly modern metal trappings only serve to dial up the cheese a little too much. And the closing track, ‘Rising’ is OK, but not essential, a little too paint-by-numbers for my tastes.
Mind you, don’t let these blips discourage you from checking out this record because elsewhere there is so much quality to sink your teeth into and enjoy. For a debut release, ‘Scars’ is great; it shows without doubt what kind of talent Nasson Prudant has, both as a songwriter, but as a musician and singer too. I have listened to ‘Scars’ back-to-back on a number of separate occasions and I still don’t find myself getting bored of it as can be the case with this kind of music sometimes. Strong melodies, heaviness, sufficient variety, and a dark edge that stops it from being too saccharine, ‘Scars’ is recommended to anyone looking for a more than solid dose of melodic heavy metal.
The Score of Much Metal: 85%
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