|Review: Massive Scar Era - Metal Goes Egyptian|
|Metal Goes Egyptian|
Year released: 2023
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: November 19, 2023
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
for:Metal Goes Egyptian
Rated 3.25/5 (65%) (4 Votes)
Massive Scar Era are a band with an interesting history, starting out in Egypt before moving to Canada for obvious reasons and making an odd blend of prog, alt rock, and even some punk backed by traditional Egyptian forms through minor orchestration and especially in the percussion. They've toured a fair bit over the years and even been part of a few documentaries, so I guess that makes them more important to the scene than your average band despite not having that many releases. All things considered, I was interested to see what this had to offer, but while there are good things to talk about, it's not as many as I was hoping for.
The opener "Between Waves" definitely doesn't give a good first impression, sporting poor riffs, awful harsh vocals, and baggy songwriting. It gets much better from there, though, as "30 Years" is a genuinely strong song that wisely focuses on Cherine Amr's lovely vocals and has some genuinely good riffs and strong, deceptively complex songwriting that holds together all the disparate elements. I will say that Cherine's vocal sensibilities are sometimes closer to alt-rock than metal, and that's true for most of the album, and it's those aspects that I think hold back the overall sound, especially the one-note harsh vocals that really just need to go. When she has a good riff to work with the violins and plodding drums, it makes for an engaging and novel sound, and she has enough to make me want to see where she goes with future releases. However, just as often the guitars are almost strictly rhythmic and the music is held up by the Egyptian elements, which would be fine if they were strong enough to make up for that, but oftentimes they're not. With more focus on metal guitar writing and trimming away at the fat to her sound, I could see Amr make a strong release, but as is, Massive Scar Era is a collection of ideas tossed at the wall that only sometimes stick.
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