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Worlds Entwined

Escape Music (2014)
Rating: 8/10

Scar For Life is the brainchild of Portuguese guitarist Alexandre Santos, who began this venture back in 2008 and recorded the self-titled debut platter that very same year. Two years later the It All Fades Away follow-up emerged, although original vocalist Marco Resende would soon flee the ranks. He was replaced for the band’s 2012 opus, 3 Minute Silence, by Leonel Silva who has since been replaced by Rob Mancini for this, the band’s fourth episode.

With numerous line-up changes one would have thought that such alterations would have dogged any sort of natural progression for the band, but with Worlds Entwined Santos and crew has delivered a high and mighty metal album of some worth.

The 12-track piece also features Teen Asty on bass and João Colaço on drums, while former Dio / Black Sabbath legend Vinny Appice also makes a guest appearance (on ‘Thirteen Revolution’). However, there are many reasons to listen to this rockin’ opus outside of Appice’s appearance. For a start, there’s the molten metal guitar sound of Santos which sews this record together; providing chunks of stout riffage from the off with the doomy thrash juggernaut that is ‘Thirteen Revolution’, which for me is one of the heaviest tracks I’ve heard from anyone this decade.

Vocally, Mancini is a true monster too; his sneering drool is versatile and initially ominous until he readily slips into a soulful croon, before reverting back to that vicious snarl. With a catchy chorus and fluent percussion, ‘Thirteen Revolution’ is an absolute gem to kick-start this record; the track chugging like a steady beast hell-bent on revenge, it gradually takes a sideways step to allow Santos’ leads to breath, but once that metallic chug is back you’ll be nodding along, infected by that joyous trudge. Up next is the tremendous ‘Because I Can’, which glimmers with heaps of melody and showcases the versatility of the combo in the sense that at first it’s a softer drive before it once again takes on a driving power metal surge.

My only issue here is that although Mancini has a nice smooth voice, it does often play second fiddle to the general metal madness this opus churns out in the guitar department. I’d much rather hear a singer belting it out in a powerful manner, whereas Mancini basically goes from a smooth croon to an only slighter, weightier tone. This suggests a limit to range which, although fluid, seems a tad mismatched in comparison to what’s going on around him. Even so, each tracks flows with such efficiency that it becomes something akin to liquid gold as on the likes of ‘Judgement Day’ and ‘Vendetta’, but for me there are times when Mancini does struggle. This is especially apparent on ‘Disconnected’, which surely demands a more powerful voice to be applied to such ascending rhythms.

One cannot knock the want of trying though, and of course Santos’ staggering solo work and general monstrous performance which enables Worlds Entwined to be a weighty yet smooth heavy metal experience – one which boasts big enough melodies (‘Fire And Flame’), some gorgeous harmonies (‘Wish You Well Tonight’) and above all, a dark-edged potency (‘Worlds Entwined’) to keep you mesmerised.

Neil Arnold

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