By Contributing Writer: Octavio Ramos
|Scars Blue’s “Devoured”|
Hailing from the small town of Tijeras (Spanish for “Scissors) in the Land of Enchantment, Scars Blue unleash a powerhouse full-length studio CD, titled Devoured. Taking a solid blues-driven foundation and twisting and turning it with facets of hard rock, an underlying metal sensibility, and even facets of progressive rock, Scars Blues creates an immediate, distinct, and nostalgic sound all the same time. Listeners are likely to recognize characteristics of their own rock idols, but Scars Blues manages to take such influences to create a sound of their own.
Leading the charge is guitarist Tim Griffiths Garcia, whose riffs take southern rock sensibilities and whiskey-laden blues-driven rock. Garcia’s riffs get the body moving, particularly when bassist Dan Danikk Linich throws down his brand of thickened bass licks. One listen to the tracks “Rise,” “Little Killers,” and the thundering “Spoiled Brat” and you will catch the drift, as without notice you start swaying to the auditory swagger. Garcia also knows when to pull back, letting the rhythm section do its thing in the six-string’s absence (listen to this about half-way into the song “Rise”). Garcia also contributes background vocals, as does Linich.
Out front is Dion Tejada, whose liquor-saturated vocals bring out its own sound. Tejada is not a crooner, preferring to belt out from back of his lungs. Even on a track such as the southern-flavored “So Long,” with some guitar melodies and a backdrop rhythm section, Tejada’s mid-range vocals give the band’s its gravitas. It’s safe to say that Tejada’s raging style is complemented by that of the guitar, hearkening to the days of Deep Purple or Saxon.
Giving the band its “balls,” much like Led Zeppelin’s legendary percussionist, is Jeff Gerdts, whose powerhouse sticks know when to let it rip and when to pull back. The rolls and fills complement the music well, letting the guitar do its thing only to take it all back and slam down so that listeners can catch the beat.
Fans of progressive rock will catch facets of the genre on tracks such as the opener “Wake the Dragon” (which opens with an air-raid siren) and the aforementioned “So Long,” but the real stunner is the title track, which ebbs and flows like a hurricane. Like the storm, “Devour” strikes hard, only to pull back and let keyboardist and piano aficionado Jane Manginii (Trans-Siberian Orchestra since 2001) weave her spell of melody and progressive orchestration, and times complemented by some accessible but intricate guitar work.
Hard rock fans will relish all the tracks, but those who like some blues in their aural soup will dig tracks such as “I Wont” (sic) and the ragtag and aggressive “Wasted,” which bring out some solid bass-driven heaviness (the bass licks on “I Wont” will thunder your chest) with some crafty guitar riffs (check out the spinning riff on “Wasted,” as well as the lovely acoustic guitar that fits right in) and pissed off and at times downhearted vocals.
Devoured will leave some scars, but they’ll all be as cool as blue. Those who secure the CD will laugh out loud at the mystery track 10, which brings with it a polka swagger (complete with some sweet bass) that will get the blood pumping.