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Comeback? What Comeback!? - 36%

psychoticnicholai, December 17th, 2013

So, it seems our unfortunate prodigal sons have returned. Skinlab, after spending several years knocked out, decided to get back together. Not only that, but they decided to release some new material to the public in the hope that they could prove that they were still relevant, that they could still kick it with the newcomers. Well they can't. They tried to up their game and deliver a little bit of genuine rage this time around to convince people they were actually worth a spin, and they failed. This album is as bland and boring as a sandwich with just the bread, as watching concrete dry, as wandering across a vast grey desert of nothing. While certainly a return to form from the atrocious Revolting Room, honestly, was there any form to return to?

Musically, this album is heavier than their previous releases, but is it any better? No, while faster and angrier this album doesn't really deliver at all. Steev's vocals are terrible as ever, he has gained no skill or intensity at all. The guitars are also tuned in a way that they are dull, and despite being low pitched, lack impact. The album also has these extra tracks of Steev doing his signature silly yells over the main vocals which hint at a heavy computerized presence in this recording. This album suffers from a lack of any dynamics or memorability, that coupled with the aforementioned dull guitars leads to a very stale sounding release. The song titles and structures are very generic with titles like "My Vendetta," "In For The Kill," and "Still Suffering" that often rely around the verse-chorus structure of their music with little variety or truly memorable grooves. This music is throwaway material and could be played by just about any forgettable groove metal or rock and roll act. It's boring, general, and nondescript.

The songs themselves are not written well, but while it may be a little heavier this time around, the added muscle doesn't make up for the lack of strength. The first song just charges in with no buildup and roars in your face. It then goes on to give a simple main riff that may jar you but won't stick with you or keep you entertained too long. Even so, it does have a choice breakdown at the end that passes the mark. Amphetamine God pounds and mashes on and on and can get your head banging for about 30 seconds before the monotony and lack of dynamics becomes evident. Scream At The World is just a one-riff slog that goes on for far too long and is flatter than a tit-less girl. It throws in a few half-assed distortion effects and solos to fool your ears, but it will likely fail and return you back to the droll of the main riff. Wolvesblood and In For The Kill are okay with a decent, driving riff and fast pacing. Karma Burns is your generic mellow song with Steev clean singing like a drunk Nigel Thornberry plus an annoying studio glitch-trick midway through that has him going "A-A-A-A-A-A-A-AAAAH!" You know, the kind of garbage you hear in pop albums where the singer's voice skips? Yeah, that shows up here. Paper Trails even has this stupid Slipknotty opener with circus-like guitar effects and riffs ripped straight from Slipknot and nu metal vocals and distortion effects. Come on guys, I thought you were over this. Still Suffering is another ballad later on where Steev does this dumb drunk cry-singing and unfortunately, the instrumentation on this one is actually pretty good, it's just that Steev ruins it with his drunk-ass vocals.

Honestly, these songs sound like all the kinds of songs that Robb Flynn wrote as piss-takes while he was goofing off and later realized, "These are stupid and boring, nobody'll want to hear this!" and so he throws the songs in the trashcan and Esquivel just happens to be there scrounging when he comes upon the songs and uses them to cobble together an all around bland and blah album.

The Scars Between Us is an exercise in mediocrity and deserves no recognition at all. It is an uneventful chore of an album to sit through and it is just so vapid and uninspired that it makes me want to wash my ears out with two straight hours of classic groove metal like Burn My Eyes, Cowboys From Hell, or Astro Creep, at least those albums know what being catchy, punchy, memorable, lasting, relevant, tough, or sharp is all about; not this sullen excuse for an album. This is monochromatic with no variation and should not be touched upon by anyone looking for a decent take on the groove metal genre. Let's hope it's Skinlab's last so I don't have to sit through another one of their boring, vapid, dilapidated albums.