Scars - The Nether Hell (EP)
Thrash Metal
6 songs (29:12)
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Ken
Album of the month

The explosion of the Bay Area thrash scene in the early Eighties is one of the most significant eras in metal history. The amount of legendary bands to spawn forth from that time is astounding. Though from Brazil, Scars could have easily fit into that scene, and had they first formed in the early Eighties—and not a decade later—I can’t imagine them not being as highly regarded today as such legends as Testament, Vio-Lence, Heathen, Forbidden, Death Angel and Exodus (to name a few).

Originally formed in 1991, Scars has been anything but productive musically. They released a four-track EP called Ultimate Encore in 1994, but then disbanded in 1998. After a six year hiatus the band regrouped in 2004 and have recently released this, The Nether Hell, a six-track EP (the special edition apparently features Ultimate Encore as a bonus disc). Ten songs in nine active years won’t win the band any awards for being prolific, but The Nether Hell should cast aside any doubt you may have about the band and their proficiency within the thrash metal realm.

The Nether Hell is a masterwork of raw, brutal and relentless thrash metal. Old school is the main course, but the band embraces a little bit of death metal and symphonic black metal now and again, as well. The lyrical theme also covers more of the death/black realm with the songs focusing on themes of Hell and the similarities within the dichotomy that is good and evil.

“Creatures That Come Alive In The Dark” and “Warfare” kick the disc off with a blistering thrash metal assault with some death metal influence. Coarse, crude and fierce. “Nether Hell” is more mid-paced and features a stomping groove similar to early Anthrax, but it doesn’t negate the heaviness. “Legions (Forgotten By The Gods)” begins like an ode to “Seasons In The Abyss,” but quickly changes gear and falls in step right behind the first two tracks. “Return To The Killing Ground” is the most groove-oriented song on the EP, it’s mid-paced rhythm is reminiscent of some of the late-Eighties thrashers that incorporated more groove into their songs (most recently raped and pilfered by bands like Hatebreed as forty-second breakdowns in every single song because they can’t solo). The album ends with “Hidden Roots Of Evil,” which begins like a cover of Pantera’s “Good Friends And A Bottle Of Pills.” The song itself has the most death/black elements of the EP; after the initial beginning part it goes into a symphonic piece that is something you’d expect from Dimmu Borgir, not a thrash band, but then smoothly transitions into a maelstrom of thrash-death that intermingles with the symphonic elements. If it must end, this is the way to do it.

The production on this EP is excellent. The vocals are raw and ugly (think early Max Cavalera), the music is fast and heavy, and the solos are killer. This is old school thrash resurrected. There are some slight modern touches—notably in the production—but take away a little bass tone and this could have come from 1983 and no one would know the difference. For it being 2006, this is a tremendous thrash release.

AUDIO: Warfare, Return To The Killing Ground and Legions (Forgotten By The Gods)

VIDEO: Creatures The Come Alive In The Night and Warfare (live rehearsal clips)

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
Creatures That Come Alive In The Night, Warfare, Legions (Forgotten By The Gods) and Hidden Roots Of Evil
Ken quoted 90 / 100
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