Scalp – Domestic Extremity


Grindcore and powerviolence are interchangeable at times, but a concoction of death metal and powerviolence is something a bit more niche. California debutants, Scalp, are keen to merge the two in a cauldron of white-hot intensity and hope to smother you in a deluge of sonic fury. You’ll be peeling the burn marks from the ceiling after one minute of this audio assault.

It goes without saying that the levels of rage on Domestic Extremity are of the mouth-drooling sort that distort speech and leave a dormant spasm in your limbs. Ten tracks, twenty minutes, no guitar solos, feedback screeching through the headphones in every song – what more could you want for your metallic hardcore fix?

‘No Hope’ and ‘Christian Leech’ are bass-heavy grindcore head-smashers of less than one minute in length, yet the band manage to blast through plenty of jagged hardcore detours along the way. The guitar distortion is filthy, like a dust-coated light bulb stained in decades of nicotine smoke but still functioning. If you want a death metal throttle with punk rock patterns look no further than ‘Indigent Botulin’ and the band’s nod to Napalm Death on ‘Bastard Land’, which takes hostility to the police to new levels of antipathy. Comparisons to Gulch are understandable, but Terminal Nation are a more accurate reference point.

Standout track, ‘Stabbed Until Recognised’, is a savage mix of groove metal and hardcore with hysterical vocals. You can hear the cackling bass in the background like the rusty exhaust pipe of an ageing combine harvester. It’s the type of bottom-end rumble that gives an amplifier goose bumps. They’re not averse to coming down on you with sludge-heavy doom riffs on ‘Crouch’ and ‘Flesh Fed’. Scalp are offended by melody and the idea of you having fun. You’ll know what this reviewer means if you read the lyrics to ‘Crouch’ with the immortal line of “My blade doesn’t halt for the tears of a rapist”. Ouch!

From a production standpoint, Domestic Extremity is dripping with raw intensity. The songs sound like one-take recordings captured by Steve Albini’s leftover microphones from the In Utero sessions. Mixing engineer, Taylor Young, does a great job balancing the ferocity of the guitars with the belting vocal histrionics and pounding drums.

There is no ambiguity in this music. It bludgeons, it threatens, it illuminates the incandescent anger burning inside you. How merciful that they limit the hardcore attack to just twenty minutes.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 13/11/2020

Record Label: Creator-Destructor Records

Standout tracks: No Hope, Crouch, Stabbed Until Recognised

Suggested Further Listening: Terminal Nation – Holocene Extinction (2020), Chinned – Clipping Teeth EP (2020), Gulch – Impenetrable Cerebral Fortress (2020)