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Album Reviews : Scaphis – Rituals of Torture and Death

By on July 23, 2017

Melbourne Death Metallers Scaphis debut album ‘Rituals of Torture and Death’ begins heavy, steady and slow with the aptly named “Death March”. Drums are the main focus with some heavy riffage over the top and end with atmospheric sounds and the solemn spoken words “There are things far worse than death” by female lead singer, Spyke Jägerkrieg.

Breaking into brutal guitars and solid drumming, “For the Sun” follows and the deep growls from the female vocalist are thoroughly impressive made even heavier with backup male growls. Without having heard Scaphis or knowing anything about them I knew the beautiful death metal vocals were female, not because they were bad, lacking depth or brutality but because of the distinct nature of extreme female metal vocalists and found them akin to Angela Gossow, to compare to a well-known act.

Unlike a lot of male led death metal bands, especially new and upcoming ones, the vocals held a clarity I find synonymous with the few brilliant female death metal vocals that attracts me to their style. The album is beautifully constructed, with interesting lyrics which will impress any gore fan. Melodic in parts, the intricate drumming and guitars meld together for a fresh sound that is certain to please melo-death fans (like me). Rigid stop starts in an almost breakdown matter have a core element but is saved by the following brutality that is unleashed and the fast tempo drums and pure death vocals.

A headbangers dream, RoTaD has slow paced and super-fast parts perfectly spaced which would be a delight live. The skill all round is inarguable and I highly recommend this album as I thoroughly enjoyed it. Skeptical? Have a taste by checking them out on Bandcamp with two songs available for purchase, tracks four and five, “Death Provides” and “Belly of the Beast”. My personal favourite is track eight, “Buried Alive’, with it catchy start and emotive lyrics, you can feel the sensation of being buried alive, taken through the experience by the deep growled lyrics and evocative guitars. The solid drumming adds to the desperation and fear of being buried alive, then comes in the melodic guitar which adds a beautiful, haunting melancholy before breaking into faster, heavier guitar as the oxygen is running is out and ‘whimpering your final words’, ‘all alone and slowly dying in a shallow grave’.

All eleven songs come together to form a killer first album, with amateur painted artwork that is not to the same standard as the music and would not grab attention except for the fact it is a naked female butt with a bloody dagger in hand, bloody heart or some sort of organ on a stump in the woods. I cannot wait to see what this Aussie five piece releases next and I hope to be able to catch them live sometime soon as I imagine they would have a strong stage presence.

Band: Scaphis
Album: Rituals of Torture and Death
Year: 2017
Genre: Death Metal
Label:  Independent
Origin: Australia