Released: 2008, Alabama Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
There have been no signs of life from Scaar for a while now, but the band is now back with their third album NEXT LEVEL OF TORTURE which a brilliant album. The band has both a new label and a new drummer and in my opinion the band has also changed their musical direction a bit. They’ve given up pure thrash metal for a technical heavy metal sound that has its foundation in thrash metal. I’d like to label their music as death’n’roll with a mean and brutal twist. It feels like the band has matured and now writes material in a totally new direction. The band has influences from Machine Head, Pantera, The Haunted and the later Entombed albums.
One thing the band suffers from is the lack of a second guitarist; the guitarist they currently have is excellent, but I think they need another guitarist to get a thicker and heavier sound picture. It may work alright on the album, but when it comes to a live situation I think they’re gonna need a second guitarist. Something that has carried over from the previous albums is lead singer Alex Jonsson’s amazing voice which incorporates both brutality and sensitivity. Guitarist Alf Johansson throws out deadly riffs like there’s no tomorrow; he’s solid as a rock and is provided a sturdy foundation by the rhythm section which contributes lethal drumming. The entire band was part of the song-writing process, which shows in the songs. NEXT LEVEL OF TORTURE includes even deadlier songs and more capturing moments than ever before. They have done an amazing job with this album and it feels like the band has put in every ounce of their souls into these songs.
Killer tracks are “Helltrip”, “Reborn”, “Strife” and “Altar Of Death” which are all fast and mean thrash metal at its best. The songs run through at a furious tempo and there’s almost no time to catch your breath. We also have the amazing songs “Next Level Of Torture”, “Whole”, “The Final Breath” and “Antisocial Punk” where the music becomes more death’n’roll. They’re less technical but just as heavy and brutal as the rest of the album. The slowest songs are titled “Nerve Damage” and “Blinded” and on these tracks Jonsson shows amazing nerve and passion in his voice and along with Johansson shows why Scaar is one of the brightest stars in the death’n’roll scene at the moment.
Scaar went to Dug Out Studio and the infamous Daniel Bergstrand has produced this masterpiece and just as always Bergstrand has done an amazing job. He just waves his magic wand and everything turns out perfectly. The rhythm section paints a massive wall of exterminating beats and with Johansson’s sharp and skilled guitar playing you realize that Scaar is a force to be reckoned with.
NEXT LEVEL OF TORTURE has to be the breakthrough album for Scaar! The only negative thing about the album is the lack of a second guitar, but the rest of the album is a deadly lesson in how great music ought to be played.