SCARIOT – Strange To Numbers

SCARIOT - Strange To Numbers


FaceFront Records
Release date: November 26, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Scariot hits you hard. It’s almost so I’d call them Scare-iot instead, or maybe Sca-Riot (Ska-riot has to be a great name if someone has an anarchistic reggae band going?). No, seriously, their prog-power-thrash mix of metal styles is a crushing one indeed, with a competent singer, a great pair of guitarists, and a rhythm section technically skilled enough to handle such (often) intricate beats and patterns. Bands I can imagine have inspired the band are Testament, Symphony X (especially lyrically), and first and foremost Nevermore – there are lots of Warrel Dane-isms in the vocal lines – and the dual guitar attack has definitely spent some time jamming to Loomis/Calvert-leads. This means a few things.

First, you can be sure you’ve got power. The riffs are simple enough to groove on stage, yet still intricate enough to entertain more than just a few times. They are also scalar enough to give room to melodic vocal lines yet still dissonant enough to ring through in the ear. Oddleif Stensland is no Russell Allen or Warrel Dane, still his voice works OK with the music, and judging from the very cool album sleeve photo he also possesses the right attitude to present this music live. The growls from bassist Steffan Schulze (ja Helga, bitte sehr) works very well as an addition to the mostly clean vocals from the Oddleif, btw. The vocal melodies are relatively dark throughout, and fits very well with the aggressive backing. Some favorites of mine here are “Pushing for Perfection”, “Monopolize”, and the somewhat Eastern sounding “Inner Mica”.

I mentioned the riffs, and to be honest I think it’s during the riffs the guitarists shine the most (especially “Clear Mind”, “E-pollution”, and “Inner Mica“), the leads seem a bit rushed at times. Frank Orland is definitely enough of a technician to step forth from the masses of bedroom guitarists; still, I feel that some of his leads seem a bit rushed and “too” centered around just shredding. Still I understand the effect this (probably?) was meant to create, namely the one of just what I said – rush, chaos, and discordance. “Pushing for Perfection” is a good example of this. Having said this, I just have to mention the legato/tapping background to the verse parts of “Inner Mica”. Ingenious!

The production is muddy enough to keep the dark atmosphere still clear and crisp enough to let us hear what’s going on, which of course is crucial with such relatively technical music.

Overall, I think this is a great album in very many ways. The band has a very competent lineup (the Oddleif is not the world’s best singer, but he does his best and that’s not at all that bad), great song writing, and they seem very disciplined and willing to do what it takes. The only thing I have to mention is that old nagging about finding their own sound and all that. Yep, I have to mention it – the music (and the lyrics) is VERY Nevermore here, and it’s just on the brink of bubbling over. I do not know if this is intended or not, and this is not meant as criticism, but just a little hint of advice from an objective listener, but maybe the guys should try doing things just a bit different next time. I’m not asking you to turn jazz or opera (or reggae – Ska-riot again), but at least don’t become more Nevermore than this. Oki?

Now I’m going to listen to the second track of Rage’s The Missing Link album (and what is that song called???). No, seriously – just carry on as you have started guys and this may very well become something. Add a(-nether) touch of originality, and don’t go too shreddy on the leads, and we’ll see how this goes. Monopolize…

  1. Monopolize
  2. Strange to Numbers
  3. Prospects Unknown
  4. Broken Circle, Cutting Glass
  5. Lady X
  6. Pushing for Perfection
  7. Clear Mind
  8. E-pollution
  9. Inner Mica


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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