Review by Rick Ossian
Austin, Texas‘ Scorpion Child are on their second effort with this blast of Heavy Metal Boogie. Their eponymous debut being way back in 2013, it seems what we’re listening to now means it was well worth the wait. This set of recordings really cooks, save for a couple of minuscule moments that I will point out shortly. For those of you keeping track, Scorpion Child are Aryn Jonathan Black (voice), Christopher Jay Cowart (lead), Jon “Charn” Rice (percussion), Alec “Mexecutioner” Padron (bass) and Aaron John “AJ” Vincent (heavy keys).
She Sings I Kill (catchy title, eh?) starts things off in a very nice direction for us. It starts life with a big intro, straight of the late 60’s/early 70’s heavy metal/hard rock era. The bass is positively monstrous on here, as it will show on several other tracks! This is melodic metal for the most part, but with a slightly different edge, à la a Metal Black Crowes or Quireboys. Kind of like what The Answer were trying to pull off, I think…
Reaper’s Danse has a burst of in-your-face guitar at the outset, plus plenty of big drums and bass. There is also the obligatory guitar solo (2:35). It is a tasty treat. This is mainly a blast of Southern-style metal for your pants that will make you get and danse!
My Woman In Black has a Riff City intro with more huge bass, heavy and pounding our lights out senselessly and repeatedly. We should be thankful for our beating(s). There are a few more nice little guitar bits here, a brief one at 1:45 and another, slightly longer one at 3:15. For whatever reason, at 3:40 we get a big shift and almost a full stop. Some nice feedback at the close, a classy touch that often gets ignored because, well – it happens so often!
The title track is up next, and features plenty of guitar, bass and drums for all of you sticklers out there. This is, again, toe-tapping and fairly heavy stuff. The jam out at the beginning is worth the ride alone, but this tune is a near – six-minute monster, and will need some reckoning should we decide to face it on our own! At almost two minutes in we hear a mellow shift, with focus on the bass and keys doing solos (2:50), sort of a Metal Psych/Blues, if you will. Some serious bass playing. Then, they pretty much just jam out the rest of the tune, leaning in a Psych/Space Metal direction mostly. At five minutes in, things return to ‘normal’, and we get a big feedback boost at the outro.
Winter Side of Deranged, aside from its lovely title, is another full-on 70’s Hard Rock/Heavy Metal homage, giving us a huge fucking blast of heavy Boogie. The lyrics are something about a train and pain, I think – I was too caught up in the jam, folks! I’ll admit it! At two minutes in the engine room shifts to an even higher gear – and can you HEAR that bass? Oh, my! The drums do their damage as well, but the two of them together are unbeatable.
Seance is one of those creepy weird little chant things with dusty vinyl FX. It is for the horror geeks and nerds among us, I guess. To each their own – I went to a seance one as a boy, and I think the whole thing was rigged – so I’m a bit biased!
Twilight Coven brings us back to the heavier-than-shit blasting boogie with the big bass and the drums. Is it getting old yet? I don’t think so, but then I’m a bit fond of this band’s material. I was getting a major Iggy & the Stooges (à la Raw Power) vibe off of this one, both vocally and musically.
Survives features a super creepy vocal and piano intro. It is a gorgeous piano, though. At 1:10 things kick into gear, but at 1:40 we’re back to the creepiness. Then, we get this depressed, anguished blusy kick back in and a guitar solo at 3:25. The creeps return at the end and close with the ultra-creepy vocal/keyboard routine. Nice but depressing…
Blind Man’s Shrine is more of the same – bluesy heavy rock/metal with LOADS of guitar. The engine room is blasting away again with super heavy bass and drums. Again, isn’t this like the Answer – only better? Maybe it’s just me… There is a tasty Southern-style shredding going on at 3:25. Bad ass stuff.
Moon Tension doesn’t really have an intro to speak of, but that’s okay. There are blasts of plenty right out of the gate in full, no mucking about this time around! This I would liken more to a psych/heavy blues Crowes again, maybe even a Metal Faces with somebody else besides Rod the Mod trying to sing. The lead guitar bit at 2:50 is only slightly widdly, with a bit of FX, but not overdone in my opinion. At three minutes, we come to a full stop, then are outdoor insect sound FX, and a door closing at the end of the tune. Not sure why that stuff is there, but I just mention it in passing. Enjoy the bugs!
Tower Grove is another groovy blast of Blues boogie, with lots of guitar and blasting drum work, heavy bass guitar included of course. I caught my head bobbing and saw my toes tapping while I was jamming to this one. There are several noteworthy guitar moments, particularly at 2:10 and 2:35, where some power chords seriously shred, and at 3:25 we get a big face full of the stuff! Big riffs close with powerful drumming.
Might Be Your Man is another huge track, almost 6 minutes worth. This is big and bluesy and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock again, pretty much in that 60’s/70’s vein I was mentioning above. The breakdown at about three-and-a-half minutes in is another big moment, with a lead (3:40) that sounds like Space Blues (Hawkwind), then sky blue guitar (Uli Jon Roth), then another big jam to the close. Some guitar FX round things out rather nicely.
Addictions is our closer for the day, and is a big old six-and-a-half minute arse -kicker. There are big Uriah Heep-style keys at the intro this time around, but only very briefly. At 20 seconds in, we get a big kick. This is a pretty heavy Blues, plus the requisite HEAVY bass and drums. A blast of guitars at 50 seconds in, then it’s back to Riff City at 1:15. At 2:45 we get a big shift, to an even more uptempo boogie. I love this lyric line:” I see all I need/ Right in front of me/It’s a natural thing.” For some reason or other at 4 minutes in, however, things fall apart rather quickly, and all we’re left with is a couple of minutes of a rainstorm…hmm.
Suffice it to say that I fell in love with this stack of wax from the very early beginning of my listening session. If you like Ginger, the Quireboys, the Black Crowes, or maybe even The Allman Brothers, then a bit heavier, then this might be right up your alley!