Gods, Kings, and Conquerors
Released: 2003, Independent
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
Scorched Earth is a young band hailing from Seattle, Washington, but their roots run deep and strong back to the old school death-thrash. This three-piece is pretty much “what you see is what you get,” basing their style on a core of raw, but solid riffing, fast drumming, lots of aggression, and a desire to play their asses off without bothering with such niceties as technicality, melody, or clean production.
This is the kind of album that right from the first track, “Thy Kingdom Crushed” kicks you right in the face with a flurry of riffs that pay homage to the days of filthy black thrash of ancient Kreator, Sodom, Bathory, and even a little Venom and Celtic Frost. Moving along at full gallop, Terry McCorriston is able to handle the double duty of raw scream-growl vocals and riffs with ease. “Helter Skelter Land,” at over seven minutes in length, is the longest song on the album, and is more typically death metal than the previous track. “YHWH” opens with an incredible (yet incredibly thin and raw) buzz-saw riff, flowing almost immediately into a short doom metal breakdown with a fairly awesome bit of groove before kicking back into full death metal mode. The changes back and forth in this song keep the headbanger on his toes, while giving him plenty of riffs to sink his teeth into. While “Procession of the Devil’s Horsemen” is a mid-paced track that breaks the CD in half, the last three songs are just as intense, if not faster and more intense than the first half. “Neo Zombies” is my favorite track on the album. This one rips ahead with a total thrash onslaught. I’m talking total old Kreator here, or maybe some Defleshed or Nocturnal Fear. In any case, the merciless riffs here will tear your face off while Sandy Johnson’s bass pummels you into the dirt. Awesome! Had enough? I didn’t think so, because “Iron Tyrant” is up next. This one has a strong classic-heavy/speed metal sound, ending up in the area of a black metal Motorhead. Closing out the album is “Napoleon, Conqueror of Pyramids.” This main riff here manages to capture both the death metal fury, but also carry at the same time a bit of epic and melodic feel. At about 0:43, the song changes to some old, raw speed metal that just kicks the listener in the balls and induces grand mal fits of headbanging. That awesome riff creeps back in around 1:24, alternating with brutal death metal breaks and some insane drumming up until about 2:30, when the song changes to a mid-paced bit of metal. While the track closes out alright, I feel that the first two and a half minutes of the song have been misleading, and I require more thrashing.
Scorched Earth provide exactly what one would expect from a do-it-yourself black death-thrash band: riff upon riff hearkening back to the old school, roaring vocals and drums, and raw production adding to the atmosphere. My only slight complaint is that I feel the production could use just a little tweaking so that the drums are not so high in the mix, and bring the guitars forward slightly. Oh yeah, and 36 minutes of constant headbanging is not enough for me, either. If you enjoy the early works of Kreator, Bathory, Sodom, Celtic Frost, or newer bands like Defleshed or Nocturnal Fear, then Scorched Earth is a mandatory listen for you!