Scars are Soulless
Category: Industrial / Electro
Blurb: Scars are Soulless displays a pleasantly atmospheric brand of electro/industrial on this sophomore album that may yet enthrall us in the years to come.
Almost four years after releasing the self-titled debut, Chip Calise attempt to take his Scars are Soulless project to the next level with Vendetta. Having cut his teeth as the touring guitarist for Vigilante and performing alongside the likes of Psyclon Nine, Imperative Reaction, Twitch the Ripper, and The Birthday Massacre, Calise has a lot of experience to back up his excursions into the gritty electro/industrial style he showcases with Scars are Soulless.
Indeed, to listen to the danceable beats and sweeping synths that evoke both ‘80s new wave ambience and distorted industrialized haze of “Fuck Your God,” Calise demonstrates a propensity for bringing together various influences in a single track. Similarly, the opening title track bears a resemblance to the atmospheric EBM akin to Tyranny >For You< era Front 242 if not for the scratchily distorted vocals that sound lifted right out of Psyclon Nine. Wrought with caustic textures and clanging percussive assaults, Scars are Soulless would come across as pure industrial dance in the classic sense, but topped off with melody in some form, be it in the pianos and strings of the instrumental “Final Victory” or in the spaced out vocoder accompaniments of “To Die For” or “A Past to Burn.” Other tracks like “Never Forgive, Never Forget” and “Eyes of the Deceiver” appeal immediately to the modern school of harsh EBM and electro/industrial; especially the latter track with its metallic drum samples taking on a breakbeat like quality as the synths pulsate beneath aggressive, incendiary arpeggio leads. “Hate” pumps by with an infectious EBM beat and bass line, making for an instrumental interlude begging for extended remixes, while “Obsolete” ends the album on blissfully creepy mood as a slow, thunderous beat underscores a slithery ambience of synth and vocoder.
Produced by Vigilante’s Ivan Munoz, Vendetta is a fine album that indicates the breadth of Chip Calise’s talents beyond being a live guitarist. In fact, one would be hard pressed to detect any actual guitars on Vendetta as the music seems driven by intricate programming and synthesized atmosphere that focuses on pure mood. Where the album lacks is in the vocal department, for while Calise exhibits a range of different styles quite effectively, the tonality shifts from song to song, and sometimes several times within a single track to make for a varied but occasionally scattered listen. Still, while Vendetta won’t necessarily change the electro/industrial genre, it can be heralded as a pleasant addition to it annals from an artist who may yet have the capacity to surprise and enthrall us.
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)