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Boiling Calm - 100%

Writhingchaos, April 15th, 2016

These guys hands down, have to be one of the most underrated artists on the French metal scene. I mean c'mon they started out in 1998 and after the release of their unique yet patchy debut Translucence, have released one solid album after another and yet, pretty much no one seems to have heard of them. I mentioned in my review of The Undercurrent that it was insane that they were yet to get the recognition they deserved in spite of having such a niche sound in a sea of sound-alike bands. I find it all the more inexplicable since the almighty Dirk Verbeuren is also part of the band and c'mon, Soilwork is a band pretty much every metalhead has heard of. You have the goddamn internet to help you out for Christ's sake, do your homework people.

The opener "Mirthless Perspectives" should be enough to convince you that this is one beast of an album. The title track is one groovy death metal assault to die for and the blistering melodic assault of "HyperConscience" never fails to get me headbanging like a maniac in no time. However the last two epics namely "FireProven" and "Boiling Calm" are where the band really shines as a whole unit bringing a subtle progressive metal influence into their face-ripping melting pot of death, thrash and industrial. Here the After being a die-hard fan of all their albums (with the exception of the debut) I have to say that this is the album where pretty much all the elements of their music come together in a raging storm of vicious kinetic drumming, a boatload of riffs and solos along with some of the best vocals I've heard (both cleans and growls). If you happen to be one of those who hates clean vocals with a vengeance, you might just want to watch out since they are in every song. And believe me when i say this; unlike most of the metalcore bands of the 2000s, the cleans don't sound forced in the least bit and actually add to the dynamic intensity of each of the songs. Plus there are quite a few clean guitar breaks in the songs making for a much more varied experience than your average metal album. Clearly this is the album that Scarve has been wanting to make from their very inception and it show on every song, no exceptions.

As I already stated in my review of The Undercurrent, these guys sound like the bastard son of Meshuggah and early Soilwork with a blistering death/thrash influence in the mix along with a touch of industrial metal. And to top it all Fredrik Thordendal even plays a guest solo on the stomping poly-rhythmic chugfest "Asphyxiate"! How about that. "The Perfect Disaster" showcases a lighter, almost post-metal side of the band and the mosh-inducing "Molten Scars" really brings the death/thrash influence to the forefront. The production is probably one of the best I've heard on a metal album with pretty much every instrument being given its full due in the overall mix. Dirk Verbeuren one again gives a performance for the books showing that he is right up there with some of the best metal drummers of today with the likes of Tomas Haake, George Kollias and Mario Duplantier, just to name a few.

If you found the darker experimentation and chaotic production of The Undercurrent too off-putting for the likes of you, this is the album to get introduced to the maniacal world of Scarve. An underrated masterpiece that has stayed with me for years on end and has yet to lose any of its vitality to this day.

One of my favorites - 88%

Milo, August 5th, 2006

Scarve are one of the best bands in the death metal world. Their innovative vision of the genre, instrumental talent and ability to write complex songs with a dab of accessibility and intense atmospheres isn’t easy to match. Luminiferous was an excellent example of that, one very solid album with some minor flaws. However, some of its material was so good I wondered why they didn’t get the deserved attention. That album was one to listen closely.

Irradiant follows the same path as Luminiferous: Very ferocious death metal, played with extreme accuracy, both from the excellent, modern-sounding riffs and the unmatched drumming from Dirk Verbeuren. The riff work is better than ever, even more expressive and seriously aggressive. “Mirthless Perspectives” and “An Emptier Void” show the band’s menacing character. The introductory riff of the former is darkly melodic, imposing a feel of doom to come. And it does come, with the spiraling blast beats working as its chariot of fire. The other song boasts even more aggression, peaking at the section after the solo: It’s composed of intimidating riffs that make the word “chainsaw” to come to mind. The chainsaw dilacerates you slowly but somehow you want more. The song fades nicely into a sprawling, enigmatic section that works as a brief relief before the onslaught starts once again.

The title track is a bit different. It starts crunching like a pitbull, but alternates with some slower, atmospheric moments and has a very remarkable chorus. Scarve’s vocalists are also masters of memorable vocal lines. They aren’t derivative or banal and in this album, they express perfectly the intent of each song. For example, the chorus for “The Perfect Disaster” has some convincing screams and lyrics that fit the overall feel of this song: Its ominous melodies resemble a drowning to me. “Asphyxiate” has a claudicant pace, provided by clashing tempos and sustained by Dirk’s accuracy. The song has even a solo from Meshuggah’s guitarist. If you know them, you know what to expect from this song.

Even in the “fast death metal cracker” category, Scarve graces us with their talent. “Molten Scars” is the equivalent of “Serpent Speech”, the Entombed cover in their previous album: Catchy and straight to the point, it’s all about speed. It also has some vocals that give it a pseudo-industrial feel when coupled with a start-stop riff. “Fire Proven” is longer and more diverse, counting with some pretty evil riffage. However, this song really shines at 3:30, when Dirk applies a dynamic, compelling drum pattern that supports a powerful melodic solo. These songs also show the only weakness of this album. Sometimes, the song structures might get a bit predictable, mainly when they repeat sections to build up intensity. This trick works but can hurt the album a little. The last track, “Boiling Calm” sounds like “Black Prophecies” from Darkness Descends, with its stomping pace, thrashy riffs and spiced up with another great chorus. It has an unnecessary ending but that’s ok.

Irradiant shows Scarve in great form. Excellent riffs, plenty of power and memorability are all here. The production is once again perfect, clean without detracting from death metal’s ideals of rawness and aggression. The lead guitar still has that unique, luminous guitar sound that is so effective at creating atmospheres and soundscapes. Overall, an excellent album and remains as a favorite of mine.

Irradiant - 90%

Burstedt, April 13th, 2005

Ahh…this is what I have waited for a very long time. A death metal with influences from Death and Atheist taking another approach towards melodic concepts and songs structures. From my view, being a Swede that’s tired of hearing bands like Arch Enemy, Soilwork, In Flames, and others following the Gothenburg-sound and not creating more personal introspect views of new melody and harmonic creativity. And also with being a Morbid Angel fan (especially the Covenant - and Domination-era), in my opinion some harmonics in the Irradiant album may be derived from Morbid Angels harmonically approach.
Also the Scarve-soundproduction has its own approach, one not very popular amongst the death metal scene. Combining the artistry of cords structures and the will to making the sound more clear than many other bands conventional aspect on sound; making it as brutal and heavy as possible. Nothing is wrong in creating a raw & heavy down-tuned production, but somewhere along the line (as in this case the studio process) you have to ask yourself, do we want focus on brutality, or making music clear enough so that audience may hear and enjoy our music sufficiently? Talking about extreme cases of clear sounds in studio productions a la Dream Theater is one thing, but making a death metal album clearer than the normal-raw-and-brutal metal album is another.
In the track Asphyxiate I think of the rhythmic-based conflict between guitars and beat, of which Meshuggah use to do. Interesting and reviving to ones ears to listen to a band that has many colours in its musical creativity. Even the guitar solo sounds a bit like Allan Holdsworth, can you believe it! For those that aren’t familiar with this jazz guitarist, I strongly recommend his early solo album from the 1970s and his works with the Bill Bruford band, the former drummer in King Crimson.

irradiate - 85%

AtteroDeus, June 11th, 2004

While I don't think that the label of "industrial death/thrash" quite fits the sound that Scarve manage to evoke on this album, it's pretty much as close as you're going to get.

Some songs, like the opener 'Mirthless Perspectives', sound at least to me like how the Swedes SHOULD have been making their take on "melodic death metal" as opposed to the spineless power-wank being peddled by the likes of Arch Enemy & Soilwork. Yet the next song sounds almost like a death metal band with a heavy Meshuggah-stylized influence, and so on further down the tracklisting. This adds to an almost subliminal sense of anticipation where the listener isn't quite sure which direction the next song is going to head.

Admittedly that last sentance isn't quite meant in the same context as the likes of Ephel Duath or other such bands that go off on abstract tangents far greater than Scarve, but more of a way of highlighting the sense of anticipation and happiness when that direction makes itself clear, when you listen to 'Irradiant'.

This no doubt makes it an album that only people that actually bother to open their minds to bands that like to be different will find appealing, and all those dimwits that overly use the word 'true' will not.

'Hyperconscience' has an ever-spiralling rhythmic groove over the powerhouse drummer of Dirk Verbeuren (currently flavour of the month it seams, regarding session drummers - see Aborted and Soilwork). The surprisingly melodic track 'The Perfect Disaster' is both complex and accessible, and after bursting into a hyperactive blast with 'Molten Scars' (featuring Defleshed's Gustaf Jorde), Scarve stretch their legs on two very impressive and more extensive, prog metal excursions to wrap things up