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This has got hair on its balls - 78%

CadenZ, May 19th, 2017

For a moment, let’s dwell on the subject of record labels not doing their jobs well. Ehhh… on second thought, let’s not, as that would a) get everyone depressed, b) become too lengthy a text for anyone to read without getting depressed and c) I don’t fucking have the time for that shit. But clearly, the labels don’t do their homework well as they’ve missed this quality Swedish band called Centicore who play down-tuned, technical and melodic death/thrash metal. I’m sure the Katrineholmians are depressed because of this.

“Scars of the Watchers”, Centicore’s fourth demo since their conception in 2003, holds four tracks of professional as fuck music, and despite their name I can only hear faint hints of anything –core, thank Shiva. The overall soundscape with down-tuned 7-stringed or even 8-stringed guitars and jagged, rhythmically complex riffs and hi-pitch screeching, plus the occasionally fusion-esque interludes and guitar solos bring a specific Swedish battalion to mind… I’ll give you a hint, their name starts with an “M” and ends in “if you didn’t already figure out it’s Meshuggah, you’re stupid”.

Keep in mind though that I’m only speaking of the soundscape here; Centicore is much easier to get into than Meshuggah, their music is much “simpler” both technically and harmonically speaking. Traditional heavy metal chord progressions are found aplenty and clean vocals get thrown in every now and then. Some of the “happier” chords/riffs sound a little out of place, as well as the Iron Maiden-fanboi guitar melodies with harmonies. Diversity is good, but you gotta have great fucking quality for it to work, like the chorus on “Lambs of God” which is quite “easy-going” but still works like a fucking charm. The other melodic parts, not so much.

When listening to “Scars of the Watchers”, for some reason I come to think of one of the few hardcore bands I’ve ever enjoyed listening to, namely Refused, at their most metal moments. This is, of course, heavier and has much more to do with thrash/extreme metal than hardcore but I still get some of the same vibes, especially from the hazy interludes.

Everything is very well-arranged with several layers of guitar riffs, leads, clean arpeggios and vocals often bringing depth to the texture. A crisp and clear production is of course needed for this thick sound to work, and thankfully we are granted just that. The mix is slightly more heavy at the bottom, which gives it more balls, or more hair on its balls, your choice. One complaint: the snare drowns a bit on the heavy parts, not good. The drummer performs very well, though, as do everyone else. Good guitar solos, for example. So go get a record deal already, you dorks; if no one expresses any interest, make death threats or some other creative stunts… something’s gotta give. Or stay unsigned and depressed. You dorks.