REVIEWED: Scarab - 'Martyrs of the Storm'

April 20, 2020

Egyptian death metal sect Scarab make music that tells a story. Brimming with atmosphere, melody and drama; every scorched blastbeat and pounding note echoes with all the mystery of desert sands and deadly curses steeped in forgotten lore.

 

Hailing from Cairo, Scarab have been plying their violent delights since 2006 and the lyrics and song structures are infused with the philosophy and myth of ancient cultures. If you like Nile or any other bands of similar ilk; it’s safe to say you will adore Scarab. With more of an old school edge and the advantage of being raised in the history-soaked land itself, Scarab’s convulsive fits of ear-blitzing death have a much grittier, more profound feel than that of their North American counterparts.   

 

Stealing inspiration from the depths of Egyptian mythology, ‘Scarab’ refers to an archaic symbol of rebirth and represents the band’s ability to evolve and reinvigorate themselves. With two well-received albums already under their belts and an impressive touring record behind them, Scarab have certainly fulfilled this early promise and the crew’s latest offering, 'Martyrs of the Storm', pushes their extreme sound even further along this rising trajectory. A frenzied blizzard of aggressive, throat-ripping vocals, agonising distortion and wind-whipped drums, Scarab’s recent album release is full of pure, joyous and pulverising death. Highlights include the clamorous 'Martyrs of the Storm', with its screeching guitar solos that thrill to the ends of the nerves, the endless whirlpool riffs of 'Circles of Verminejya' and the cinematically intense, hammer heavy chords of 'Bloodmoon Shadows'. Although the technical wizardry is spot on, 'Martyrs...' is filled with the richness of romance. Enveloped in lush, velveteen layers of melody and mysticism, the music hints at legends of a bygone era.

 

Although sometimes in danger of teetering too far into sonic fantasy, Scarab’s latest is absorbing and brutal enough to keep you engaged for a happy hour or so during quarantine. Grab a beer, get your ass in the garden to soak up the rays of the sun god and crank up the speakers for this accessible death with a twist. Your lock-downed neighbours will love you for it.

 

'Martyrs of the Storm' is out now via Black Lodge

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