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SCARD - Rusted Lock [NoScry Recordings - 2020]

NoScry Recordings presents Rusted Lock, the latest offering by SCARD available in both cassette and digital formats. Based in Portland, OR, SCARD is the long-running project by one J. Huston. Truth be told, despite beginning in 2001, this is my first experience with the project.

On Rusted Lock, Huston melds dark ambient, death industrial, noise, doom, and metal elements to craft a horrifically powerful and bleak album. Upon first listen I heard touches of bands like Uniform or The Body, Bastard Noise, with some of the rougher industrial elements of say Trepaneringsritualen. On subsequent listens a metal aesthetic was more apparent, especially with the black metal vocal stylings. This makes sense since Huston is also a guitarist and vocalist in the black metal band Winter in the Blood.

The album kicks off with "Polluted and Barren"; atmospheric dread collides with militaristic drumming and then bleeds into a chaotic wall of noise. "Dancing with Rot" and "Impenetrable Will" are caustic noise crawls, showcasing Huston's scathing vocals. SCARD takes us in another direction on "Silence of God", a track that is about the most straight forward on the album. Creepy bass lines contrast with vocals that vary from deep chanting to restrained screams. My favorite track "Withered Prey" presents a worming pulse that bleeds into a wall of fuzz.

Over the courses of eight tracks, there's likely something for anyone with an interest in blackened experimental music. I can imagine this appealing to both the noise and metal crowds.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Hal Harmon
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