Scenteria - Art of Aggression
Death/Thrash Metal
9 songs (38'26")
Release year: 2004
Reviewed by Alex

This problem is definitely quite old, and probably is not unique to metal either. Is the artist to be applauded when he creates a piece of music which is well rounded, but really does nothing to challenge the boundaries of the genre? Or should every musical effort be bringing something completely novel to the fray? Before Mozart sped up how minuets were being played, a number of Bach followers created one variation on the theme after another. Yet people listened to that art and enjoyed it. But I digress ... My personal theory on this – if I generally enjoy the particular genre of metal I would pick up an album in this style even if the band is not really pushing the envelope. If the craft is executed well, and there are good songs on the album I do not pose a lack of originality as a negative and the album joins the list of my “accepted” species.

Scenteria is a young Swedish band that presents us with the above described problem with their full-length debut Art of Aggression. Playing mostly in the death/thrash vein the band pays homage to all pillars of the genre while producing tight, crisp and enjoyable songs.

Openers Acts of Lunacy and Circle of Fear tread thrash territory established by At The Gates and, even earlier than that, Slayer in verses and switch to Gothenburg melodic harmonization in choruses. A bit formulaic, no question, but done very well, and grabs listener’s attention from the start. Forever Lost and Infected War dig deeper in old death metal direction with buzzsaw guitar sound representing Stockholm scene (Entombed). The catchiest riff you will bounce in your head for a while comes on Addicted, and, yes, Slaughter of the Soul would be a proper comparison. With Dead Point of View and Reign of Hate Scenteria goes more for modern day thrash a la The Haunted with some slower downtuned stomps and drums/bass exploding with the periodic machine gun rounds.

As I mentioned above, the band sounds very tight and crisp, there is not a hint of rhythmic stumbling anywhere. Scenteria also benefited by getting at least a portion of the recording done at Slaughterhouse Studios as it provided the band with the powerful, heavy and clear sound. Guitars don’t go out of their way leading away (a quick lead on Forever Lost and dual melodic jab on Addicted being most memorable for me), but riff all around the album profusely. Stefan Persson, who doubles on vocals while being one of the guitarists as well, presents a passable, cavernous, not so bottomless growl. The vocals aren’t much in front in the mix, and it is almost better this way. In melodic points he actually tries to sing along, albeit with gruffness in his voice, and some synth effects are used to enhance his cleaner singing on Addicted. That is probably as far as experimentation goes on Art of Aggression, plus some interesting rhythmic changes in the opener Acts of Lunacy.

This album is better off the first few times around, as it sounds fresher, and I liked the first part of it more, as the feeling of familiarity grew stronger with each song. In no way I don’t want to make it sound as a knock. With The Forsaken gaining separation on the rest of this bunch, Scenteria is certainly no worse than Corporation 187, The Duskfall or Within Y. The fans of the aforementioned bands should definitely get Art of Aggression as they will enjoy it. With perseverance and further development (again, The Forsaken have done it) Scenteria can be hopeful of an interesting future ahead of them.

Killing Songs :
Acts of Lunacy, Circle of Fear, Forever Lost, Addicted, Dead Point of View
Alex quoted 77 / 100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Aug 25, 2005 1:00 am
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