We’re only a few days away from the release of SCAR’s new 15-track mega album, High Fives & Devil Eyes. The title instantly connotes this release will not be for the faint of heart and it certainly delivers. With lots of dark and heavy beats, interesting experimental interludes and surprising pops of melody, High Fives & Devil Eyes swings the SCAR pendulum to the more contemplative and surreal from it’s predecessor EP Hide In Plain Sight. Don’t worry though; there’s still plenty of jaw-rattling bass.
Case in jaw-rattling point is “The Seeker,” a track that is equally evil and saucy, equally innovative and classic. You can get as inventive as you want with beats and syncopation but SCAR will always be here to remind us that a really well-crafted kick beat will always draw the listener in. “The Seeker” also quite boldly bucks the recent trend of hard D&B producers focusing on melodic synths. The synths are all sub bass here, as they should be in a good darkstep track, and they’re massively interesting, different and scary.
In terms of ambient sound, “The Seeker” once again balances classic and innovative with some classic backing synths and even some throwback vocal sounds to break up the sub bass. It’s a bit cheeky but it’s a fun way to incorporate high notes without taking away from the chest-thumping base of the track. There’s also quite a bit of play with a higher synth that seems to be only one or two bars long but then is manipulated in a number of ways. Most notably, it swoops into the foreground at the end of every other phrase in a reverse fade like an angry ghost.
One could talk about the subtleties of each track on High Fives & Devil Eyes ad nauseam and we critics will probably try to do so. Ultimately the work here is more about vibe than technique and this duo have once again nailed it. “Seeker” and its parent album are beautiful and mad and terrifying and groovy all at once, like SCAR themselves. In an end of year season full of massive releases, this album still stands out as a highlight.
High Fives & Devil Eyes is out Friday, November 15 on Metalheadz and can be pre-ordered or pre-saved now by clicking here.