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Mastic fun - 80%

MikeyC, December 23rd, 2015

I have to admit I’m not the most knowledgeable metalhead when it comes to the term “crossover.” What I do know is that Mastic Scum seem to play a blend of death metal, grind, and some punk, without ever fully realising any of those genres.

Opener “Face 2 Face” incorporates death/thrash initially, then some punk/death influenced riff in the bridge, reminiscent of perhaps some older death metal bands that would use this kind of thing (I’m thinking of perhaps a less abrasive Bastard Priest, for sake of comparison). Throughout the choruses it feels far more grind-like. The songs on Scar tend to meander across these realms in the different tracks, but the way they’re put together works very well. Mastic Scum have created their groove, and the fact they can seamlessly move from genre to genre means their music has room to breathe.

Speaking of groove, I can’t help but notice a big helping of groove in their music. “Re-Progression” uses a bass guitar and drumming verse with some spoken word vocals, and this highly reminds me of Pantera or perhaps later Decapitated in how it harmonises well together. Mastic Scum have a different mood to their version, though – perhaps a little more pessimistic – but it ultimately works. Furthermore, while songs like “Re-Progression” and the awesome “Turn Inside Out” are mid-paced grooving beasts, they can also pull out songs like “The Daily Grind,” “One-Track Minded,” and “Kiss and Kill” which try to increase the intensity. Both the slower and faster tracks work like a treat on Scar, never missing a beat or feeling incongruous.

There’s a fair amount of samples around the place. They don’t retract from the music, and tend to push the songs forward. I particularly dislike the one in “Liar,” though, but the rest are good. For those that dislike samples, it may be hard to get around them here, but I urge you to persevere because the music is well worth it.

The vocals here are specifically impressive in how they can go from low, harsh yells to higher registers, and even some cleaner vocals that resemble spoken word. Much like the genres they continuously flirt with, the vocals do the same kind of undulation, and all of them correspond well. The instruments themselves are just as impressive, though. Nothing is exceptionally flashy, but they coalesce nicely, showing the cohesiveness of the songs. The guitars have a production that’s like a grind album, but not quite. All riffs can be clearly heard but it’s got a rough, biting tone, perfect for the punkish, deathy riffs. The drums sound a little cleaner, but even they have a similar, unpolished sound to them. While there’s a healthy serving of 2/4 beats, there’s also thrash and grind inspiration everywhere. Very versatile drumming.

I really like this. Scar, much like other Mastic Scum releases, show how different elements like death, grind, groove, even some d-beat inspired writing can concatenate effectively. The choruses aren’t catchy but they have a sing-along quality that could be a hit at your next crossover party. Seek this out for something a little different.