Sound: After being disappointed with Fear Factory in the last few years I hoped for a band that would bring a fresh breeze into the machine-like groove based metal district and I finally found a worthy follow up. Scamp, coming from Denmark will surely make a deep impact in the metal scene, as they have already been nominated in Denmark in three categories (album of the year, debut of the year and production of the year).
From the first song (Dilemma) Scamp make it clear that there will be no mercy for your sound system and neither for your ears as they pound with brute force consisting of tight and pressure filled riffs (Kristian and Mads) combined with relentless double bass drum patterns (Morten.) There is nothing too innovative in their music, but they just seem to bring all the right ingredients together making it a delight to listen to this intense piece of art. There are a few surprises on the record like a dive into a cold drum and bass section in "Pros and Cons" or a slow, clean guitar midsection that shoots into a mind-crushing dissonant breakdown. There is also use of a Didgeridoo on "Strategy" and a Tool like mid-part on "Relief" that will make your skin crawl.
Scamp firmly prove that they are not simply coping but are defining their own sound. "From Nothing" is convincingly the highlight of the record, which is pretty clear after listening to the opening riff. A great combination of hardcore chord progression with an industrial guitar sound. The use of melodies that are not based on the common metal-core scale is also a big plus giving the ear something else to hear after a clearly dominant metal-core phase in the metal genre.
The only thing that jumps out as a negative element is the snare drum, that keeps the "triggered" sound even on slow and mellow parts, but then again, that's in the ear of the listener. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics on this album are not here to enlighten you, they just keep the groove going and in my opinion mostly serve as one more layer to the rhythm section. The use of the "nu-metal" trademark aka swearing can be added to that argument. Lines such as "shut the fxxx up" being repeated several times in a row and "Ready Motherfxxxx" are not the most appealing thing to some but definitely bring another coat of aggression to the songs. They fit the music and are used in the right measure keeping the balance between the "Dictionary Max Cavalera" lyrics and complex vocal rhythm patterns.
Mikael (vocals) proves that his screaming skills are nothing to be ashamed of combined with firm and clear pronunciation making a keen resemblance to Meshuggahs Jens and Diablos Rainer Nygrd. Without any weak impressions even on clean singing parts that are often combined with harmonies, he shows that you can combine screams with singing without making it sound too "common". The vocals as an instrument seem to be a bit too hidden in the whole sound mix, as I prefer louder vocals that swim on top of the music. // 8
Overall Impression: Scamp can without doubt stand shoulder to shoulder with Meshuggah, Mnemic and other similar artists as they are not inferior in any way. From the first second to the last riff everything sit's in place a makes you want more. "Dilemma", "Pros And Cons", "Relief" and "From Nothing" are the strong tracks that stand out instantly, but Mirror Faced Mentality has no weak track to offer so it's on you to decide which are the best.
If you are a fan of fast, math-based, aggressive riffs and have a "thing" for synthetic sound there is nothing on this album that will disappoint you and you will anxiously wait for the next record to come out. // 10