Scarred By Beauty

We Swim

Written by: AP on 24/11/2009 01:29:46

Before seizing the opportunity to front Hatesphere, Jonathan "Joller" Albrechtsen used to lend his vocal chords to a dramatically different band - some might even call it metalcore. Now his recording and touring commitments are divided in two between Hatesphere and Scarred By Beauty, which is kind of a bittersweet dilemma - bitter, because the commitments are clearly in favor of Hatesphere, which inevitably means that situations like Scarred By Beauty's concert in support of The Psyke Project, for which the band was forced to enlist the services of Kim Jarlholt of Vira, arise, and sweet, because Joller now has two outlets for his furious, always impressive vocals.

As mentioned before, Scarred By Beauty's thang is a technical variant of metalcore - not as extreme and dark as Vira's brand, but rather, think Misery Signals at their most melodic and add a good measure of Meshuggah-inspired modernists like The Interbeing and to some extent Periphery. To call "We Swim" a unique, standalone album might be a bold statement, but also one that rings very true at least in the domestic scene. Unlike the vast majority of Danish metal bands that opt for that hollow industrial sound with no frills (Raunchy, Mnemic, Mudslide...), Scarred By Beauty engage in a constant interplay between the extreme and experimental fringes of the genre, combining devastating drop tuned main riffs with melodies that have that distinct post-hardcore ring to them.

The three songs showcased here are a strange pack - they are awash with brilliant melodies and tuned down 'shuggah-tone riffs as is hip, but the music is unexpectedly devoid of the relentless intensity and discomfort that usually governs this subgenre. Instead, the songs give rise to a curious feeling of tranquility. This is because the music is arranged in an extremely dynamic way and is not preoccupied with erratic syncopation and injections of total mayhem, focusing instead on beautiful, buoyant melodies and an easygoing attitude. It's a little hard to describe exactly what an easygoing attitude is supposed to mean in a subgenre of metal, but to make a haphazard attempt at putting a sound to the term, go revisit the song "Prequel to the Sequel" off Between The Buried And Me's fantastic "Colors" album.

From the above description it should be obvious that the music of Scarred By Beauty is in stark contrast to the brutal death-thrash of Hatesphere, and somewhat unexpectedly Joller's ferocious vocals do not steal the show as they do with Hatesphere (no discredit to Hatesphere intended). Sure, one of the intrigue factors of "We Swim" is the marriage of light and dark - the bestial growls that annihilate everything in their path and the lofty, atmospheric instrumentals - but thanks to excellent production, the instruments enjoy equal prominence in the mix, giving the band's sound an absolutely awe-inspiring enormity.

There is no reason not to check the album out as it's available for free on the band's MySpace page, but in the name of sincerity, avoid forming your opinion based on "About Words" because it lacks direction and feels a little out of control at times, and does not quite live up to its two sisters, "A Million Metaphors" and "We Swim". If Scarred By Beauty retain their power of will, their candidacy for an internationally marketable Danish band should not be too distant in the future.

Download: A Million Metaphors, We Swim

For the fans of: The Empire Shall Fall, The Interbeing, Misery Signals

Listen: Myspace

Release date 05.09.2009

**UNSIGNED BAND**

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