From out of the cellars and into the open skies, horror-obsessed death metal outfit Scorched has teamed up with 20 Buck Spin to release their second full length, Ecliptic Butchery. As evidenced by the overwhelmingly campy (yet equally charming) cover art, these Delaware-based musicians are still very much attached to their previously established B-movie-esque horror gimmick and have decided to focus on extraterrestrial murderers this time around. As for the music itself, Scorched also hasn’t given up their groovy, barbarous, and haunting formula for death metal; in fact, it’s only gotten more depraved.
The ambient synth interludes and intros featured in their previous releases have been shortened and more carefully placed, now reduced to simple openings and closings of the songs themselves. This choice, assuming it was a conscious effort, turned out to be extremely effective in keeping Ecliptic Butchery a more focused and relentless narrative of mindless massacre. While this ambiance was a staple of Echoes of Dismemberment, I feel that it was overdone to the point of being distracting, especially on repeat listens. Scorched’s second full-length is able to keep that same spooky spirit as the debut, only this time, it’s placed within the album more organically.
The songs themselves feel better crafted as well. Scorched’s signature funk still permeates their writing and Ecliptic Butchery is just as disconcertingly easy to dance to, and while it’s by and large more of the same music that fans of Scorched have come to expect, it feels as though there’s a new emphasis on gloom and slower tempos at play here. When the band slows down, they stay slowed down for longer and let that sense of impending doom swell and churn in the hearts of their audience. If the cover painting wasn’t convincing enough for you, then track titles like “Astral Savior” and “Dissected Humanity” should reinforce the alien gimmick that this album comes packaged with, and the slower, mystery-drenched sections do a wonderful job of evoking the image of a terrified population looking desperately to the skies.
The fast-paced sections, on the other hand, go right for the throat. The mockingly groovy drumming accompanies a percussive and chuggy riffing style while the uncaring and aggressive caveman vocals echo throughout the soundscape. Besides the obvious image that they’ve established, Scorched manages to be like the B-movies they love so much in that they deal with extremely morbid and upsetting concepts, but handle those concepts in a way that’s fun and enjoyable to hear about. You’re not going to lie awake at night haunted by images of space aliens cutting you open, you’re going to be lying awake excitedly hoping that it’ll happen again.
Ecliptic Butchery is a triumphant and logical progression in the Scorched discography. If you enjoyed Echoes of Dismemberment or any of the previously released EPs/demo material, you’ll likely find a similar level of enjoyment in the band’s 2018 output. If you haven’t had that pleasure, just know that you’ll be in for some hard-hitting and violent Vastum-flavored death metal that’s been marinated in a tank of old school sci-fi horror.
Ecliptic Butchery releases September 28th digitally and on CD/LP via 20 Buck Spin.