Scamp – The Deadcalm (Scarlet Records)Monday, 16th June 2014
Listening to Scamp’s The Deadcalm makes DR ponder a time roughly ten years ago when Denmark’s Mnemic were in line to be modern metal’s next great hope. Ultra-produced, pretty heavy, relatively devoid of the rapidly-fading nu-metal sound, and built up with Meshuggah staccato and hooky choruses, the band’s The Audio Injected Soul album remains the vestige of what could have been had metalcore not have come in and ruined everything. (And we mean everything.) Sadly, the career trajectory of Mnemic never quite got into gear, even failing to leave a prominent amount of sound-alikes in its wake, save for the band in question, Scamp.
Suitably, the man behind the microphone on The Audio Injected Soul fronts Scamp, Michael Bøgballe. We’ll get to Bøgballe in a second, but first, it’s important to bring up how clung-to the elements of said modern, cyber metal Scamp is. Minus the electronic bits, the band’s riff ideas and song patterns resemble largely that of – you guessed it – Mnemic circa 2004. Scamp doesn’t quite have the same pop or girth, but they’re relatively on-the-go on cuts like “The Boys From Dead Soul Road” and “Edge of Devastation,” which hauls in some nifty guitar melodies. However, a lot of these ideas have already been corked, resulting in rather pedestrian fare, as heard on the drab “Existence Status Zero” and bland “The Longing.”
As for Bøgballe, he’s rendered mostly a bit player, much like he was in Mnemic. His cleans aren’t as frequent as one would like, something of an odd suggestion (we know) in this field, but the man’s regulated dude-bark could probably use some peeling back. Actually, that’s the case across The Deadcalm, an album that at first, recalls a bygone era that never really was, and also serves as a reminder of the limitations of modernized Euro metal.