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Album Review: Trophy Scars - Darkness, Oh Hell

Like a piece of art or a much hyped piece of cinema, in music, there are always tell-tale signs that you are onto something quality. And despite never having heard any of Trophy Scars’ previous output I knew of their reputation for playing genre-bending, high-quality music. As soon as the opening strains of “Sauvez-moi de l’enfer” begin, the listener is well aware that they are listening to something out of the ordinary.

The opening track, a mood-setter, ends as quickly as it begins and launches into the rip roaring, multi-instrumental fare that is “Nausea”. While the soaring brass will knock you back in your seat, it is the guttural vocals that really stand-out. This is as complex a rock band as you are likely to find in this genre, introducing so many layers to their music that it will take listen upon listen upon listen to fully appreciate everything that is going on. One thing noticeable on first listen is how well this EP flows. The songs end and begin in a seemingly fluid motion, with each track sounding like a natural progression from the last. The cynic in me is crying out that perhaps each song on the EP lasts slightly too long, that maybe Trophy Scars should have reined in some of their ideas, but when they are successful, they do create epic sounding rock songs.

Trophy Scars sound like the band Socratic desperately wanted to be, and seem to effortlessly combine complex song-arrangement with the ability to write a decent hook. “Sad Stanley” is a stand-out track purely for its scope and ambition. It seems to be the synthesis of the EP, reproduced in a single seven minute track, the closing two minutes being particularly special - with the lyrics echoing the statement of the opening track, and the lyrical theme of the entire EP.

It is left for the closing track “Time in Heaven, Forever in Hell” to really showcase the immense talent of this band. Easily the best track on the EP, containing some beautiful piano work and surprisingly heavy guitar work, the song perfectly encapsulates the idea of the dichotomy between heaven and hell. This contrast is perhaps best highlighted with the layered vocals, mixing between the smooth and incredibly gruff vocals. In a song that lacks a typical chorus, it still manages to be instantly memorable.

Much like a piece of art or a much hyped piece of cinema, in music, there are always tell-tale signs that you are onto something quality, but that doesn’t always mean you have to like it. It’s a different thing to appreciate objective signs of quality then it is to truly enjoy something. With this EP Trophy Scars have managed to create something the I can appreciate both objectively, and subjectively, and in “Time in Heaven, Forever in Hell”, probably one of the best songs of the year.


'Darkness, Oh Hell' by Trophy Scars is available now.

Official Website

Trophy Scars on Purevolume and MySpace.

Nick Robbins

Alter The Press!