Scavenger - Madness To Your Method 2004 Sentinel Records reviewed by: EC
1. On The Outside 2. Storm Warning 3. Ethereal Journey 4. Prisoner Of Time 5. Unstoppable Motion 6. Daydreams In Dystopia
It has been a rather slow year for demos. We've had a few gems show up, but nothing spectacular by any means. In comes Scavenger, an Irish quartet not to be confused with the 80's Scavenger on Mausoleum Records. This group of metal men play sharp and clear power metal, bordering on thrash at times, with some doomy experimentation thrown in as well. I'm not familiar with a whole lot of Irish metal, but if this is any sign of what is happening on the Emerald Isle, metal fans may be missing out on quite a treat.
The band was formed in 2001, and released their first demo the following year. Now the group returns with a new five track EP called "Madness To Your Method", released through Sentinel Records in Ireland. The album was recorded in Fat Dog Studios and mixed and mastered by Stuart Anstis (ex-Cradle Of Filth) at Sound Cage in the UK. Their bio shows the band deeply submerged in thrash metal, but I really don't hear much speed rumblings here, instead Scavenger write in the traditional sense, creating flowing patterns that recall the finer elements of Priest and Maiden. Their chops are filled with a variety of hooks, and the tempo ranges from the slower doom passages to a faster breed of power metal. Guitarist Noel Maher does a great job of keeping things lively, and vocalist Peter Dunne really fits the mold well, not really sounding like anyone in particular (at times he sounds like Zak Stevens).
Opener "On The Outside" starts out with a long bass intro, really grinding on the strings through the first three minutes. The song kicks in with a melodic gallop, really sounding a lot like Savatage before digging into a steady Maiden frolic. The song is seven minutes long, which is a big no-no to me, but we will get to that later. "Storm Warning" follows much in the same style as the opener, just mid-tempo speedy power metal. Nothing shocking, but still very enjoyable. "Ethereal Journey" approaches the doom vibe I mentioned before, crawling through dark tunnels of Sabbath worship. "Prisoner Of Time" marches slowly, sort of testing the waters of Tony Martin era Sabbath. A long bass intro kicks the song off before going into the closest thing to thrash Scavenger offers. The song is almost ten minutes long, another "extended" cut like the opener. "Unstoppable Motion" is just a filler piece, a soothing instrumental that introduces the last song. "Daydreams In Dystopia" is simply brilliant, really combining that doom vibe with a traditional metalscape. Around the three minute mark the song just explodes into some of the finest melodic gallops I've heard. Really skillful playing on the part of Maher, who keeps everything really tight. That's the thing with these guys, they are very precise and clean, nothing really getting too messy. I love the drummer Johnny Kerr's double bass sound, just clicking away and staying low in the mix to allow room for his bassist and guitarist. He's not a soft hitter, but he maintains volume control, which is a positive for this type of sound.
My beef with these guys are the long songs however. I don't need to hear eight minute songs. Get it started, break it down, say your piece, and then move on. Extending these songs just isn't necessary and really distracts from the songs themselves. Thankfully they only do this on two tracks, but still I don't think it is needed. Overall this is a great piece of work and a great beginning for Scavenger. Highly recommended for fans of Maiden, Priest, modern Riot, and mid-era Sabbath. Enjoyable for most metal fans scavenging the countryside for the next big thing.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details