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Scar For Life
March 2009
Released: 2009, n/a
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Hanntu

Hailing from Portugal, Scar For Life is the new band of former Redstains guitarist Alexandre Santos. While Alexandre is based in the country’s capital Lisbon, their highly rated drummer Daniel Cardoso (Head Control System, R.A.M.P.) lives nearly 300 km away. Nonetheless, the pair, together with vocalists Rez and Dinho, have created an interesting debut album, their self-titled SCAR FOR LIFE.

Alex claims he is heavily influenced by Swedish metal, and it’s not hard to hear those elements in the music. Soundwise, there’s a lot of In Flames in there, but their dedication to progressiveness, song development and diverse techniques comes from Opeth. Throw in a bit of the edginess of Scar Symmetry and that’s a pretty good description of where Scar For Life is coming from.

What I like about this album is their use of quite a few textures in the soundscape. They’re not afraid to use acoustic guitars both to add a different dynamic behind the electric instruments, and also to add a break or two within a song. Alex writes good riffs that don’t stay stagnant. At times you’ll be bobbing your head gently along, the next moment there’ll be a fast thrashy break that will have you off your seat…and the solos aren’t half bad either! The guitars are a major appeal of this album, and there’s a beautiful piano/acoustic guitar collaboration on ‘Distant Shore’ (my favourite track!) that segues into the headbanging ‘Innocence is Bliss’.

Unfortunately the singing isn’t to my taste, especially the cleaner vocals from Rez. I’d wish for a lot more aggression both in the delivery and the style, as I think their music would really go well with more ‘chainsaw buzz’ in the vocals, even if they were aiming for soulfulness and melody. For example, in ‘My Last Words’, they have great trippy synthwork going behind acoustic guitars and snarly electric guitars, but the bluesy R&B-ish vocals just don’t fit. Personal taste I guess.

Alex is already a veteran in the studio, and it shows, especially in the way the album sounds and feels. This is a well-made piece of work, and I totally recommend that you download it from their website for free. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Track Listing

01 - Kill The Past
02 - The Bleeding Gun
03 - My Last Words
04 - Insomnia
05 - Crawlin'
06 - One By One
07 - Distant Shore
08 - Innocence Is Bliss
09 - A Scar For Life


Alexandre Santos - guitars, bass, keyboards and FX
Rez - lyrics, clean vocals
Daniel Cardoso - drums, piano
Dinho - screams and growls
Sophie - backing vocals

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