Wow, skacore! Nutty vocal samples and a thunderous double kick sound introduce this EP, and me to the genre. Tortured, aggressive, shock-rock vocal sound, and I’m wondering where the ska element is. Breakdown to a classic, dirty, ska guitar riff and I get a feel for what lies ahead.
Les Skalpés is a four-piece from Montréal, disseminating this very unique fusion of punk, metal, ska and hardcore. To analogize them to another band with a similar blend of multiple styles, well, the best example I could give would be Mr Bungle or Twelve Foot Ninja. But, perhaps there is a much bigger scene to skacore than I know about; forgive me if I am overlooking more notable or well-known exponents of this definitely radical style of music.
The Les Skalpés listening experience is an extremely energetic one. There is barely a moment to contemplate any of the whiplash direction changes these songs take. The opening assault referred to above is the signature song for the band and definitely a suitable advertisement for the brutal whackiness they deliver. The 4/4 time signature is generally a constant though and gives the listener continuity and a sense that all the amazing feel changes are quite natural and fit together. Indeed, vocal growling with frenetic 16th note double kicks, busy ska verses, half-time punk chord progressions all meld together with ease for Les Skalpés.
The EP itself rushes by at a blinding pace, though. The second track is the title track to the release and is signified by a classy little arpeggio riff to introduce. The verses are frenetic ska and then into a five note double-kick groove that is most likely a Metallica tribute. There is dirt and clean all mixed together with this song, the bridge even incorporates an au-go-go feel, and the vocals are evil, most definitely! I will come back to this song and the EP repeatedly. Yes, this band is heavy and fun all at the same time – I like this.
The third track, “Repression D’Info”, is a more obvious poster child for the skacore genre. The contrast between the jaunty, scratchy ska riffs and the band blasting on a hardcore groove at full tilt is a very pleasing one indeed. Production-wise, this is the song that allows me to soak in the massive bottom end this band maintains, despite the treble-focused ska guitar. Yes, it’s well recorded because it’s tight as, still breathing with anologue infusion and well balanced across the entire stereo field.
The fourth track, “Libre Service”, is the song that actually does remind me of Mr Bungle’s first album. Ahh, very much appreciated, but intermission is a new metal-esque riff that could easily belong in a Korn song or something else from the late nineties. Vamping on this killer groove for an extended period of time is like a real breath of air. The listener gets to rock out for the rest of the song with the band cutting utterly sick.
“Bleeding Me Dry” comes to a car crash of a halt with the short, fast and party hard anthems: “Under Control” and “Sexual Addiction”. Yes, the closer even has a smoking little wha solo over a reggae groove. In my book, that’s a party all by itself.
The compilation of these six tracks together has really given me a great feel for the skacore genre. I’m very keen to hear more from bands like this and I get a very good feeling about the live shows they would put on. For something that is clearly going to stay in my playlist for a good while yet, I’m giving this a fun and heavy 8/10. Thanks for the introduction, Les Skalpés!
Written by Scott Andrews