An EP that has long been in the works, the self-titled debut from Scere introduces a new voice in the world of dark electro. The soulful and occasionally sultry voice of Coral is sure to remind many of the slower audio noir ambience of such singers as Collide’s kaRIN or Claudia Sarne of 12 Rounds; backed by the gritty and caustic sounds of Ged Denton’s instrumentals, such comparisons may seem inevitable, but Scere achieves on this EP a distinctively abrasive style that seems an exercise in contradictions. For instance, the tonal and rhythmic variance of a track like “Because I” perhaps shouldn’t work as well as it does as its choppy arrangement of forceful bass and steely atmospheres, complete with howling pads in the chorus to underscore Coral’s emotive voice makes for a disparate effect that somehow recalls the scores of Akira Yamaoka for the Silent Hill series, coupled with the richness of early Vangelis. Similarly, “Cautionary” slithers with a bellowing ambience and sharp beats, a manipulated piano trickling beneath Coral’s saccharine delivery as if to offer some semblance of tonal respite, while the Retold version that concludes the EP simply rearranges the instrumental and does away with any percussive elements, allowing the impenetrably mysterious layers of bass and synth to further work their dulcet deeds upon the listener’s psyche. There are the vibrant displays of industrialized trip-hop on “Surfacing” and “Nothing,” the latter’s icy pads being especially noteworthy as they mesh with Coral’s breathy voice evoking the early sounds of Portishead’s Beth Gibbons, while the sustained distortions and percolating synths in the chorus make for a sublime bit of sonic poetry. Conversely, the Featured Remix of “Surfacing” pulsates with a more guttural cadence, the whirrs of noise and bass along with some wispy sound effects making for a more energetic rendition that almost renders it a completely new song, while Word Made Flesh mangles and maligns “Nothing” into a virulent haze of strident noise, each element manipulated into a caustic mélange of screaming electronic creatures populating a dense, glitch-laden forest; as you progress deeper into the miasma, traces of humanity a la malfunctioned vocals urge you on until you’re ultimately lost in the cacophony. With post-production and mastering by regular associate Jules Seifert, the EP also does well to present facets of Denton’s production and instrumental prowess that may not have been readily apparent on the steelier sounds of Crisis N.T.I. or C-Tec, with “Rescue Me” perhaps being the most obvious indication with its acerbic EBM bass and beat. Overall, Scere is a strong first outing that introduces Coral as a poignant and powerful voice, her lyrics as introspective and as intelligent as Denton’s musical backdrops.