Varials – Scars For You To Remember (Album Review)

Varials Scars For You To Remember

VarialsScars For You To Remember
Released: October 14th 2022

Lineup:

Mitchell Rogers // Vocals
Mike Foley // Bass
James Hohenwarter // Guitar
Shane Lyons // Guitar
Sean Rauchut // Drums

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Once a very-loose 00s term to describe any then-new metal band that down-tuned and maybe combined screamed and clean vocals, metalcore has become a fully-fledged sub-genre over the last two decades. One of the many acts in the current generation of core, Philadelphia’s Varials have spent the last three years creating their third full length, Scars For You To Remember. Their first release former lead guitarist Mitchell Rogers in the frontman position, the record sees the five-piece both branching out their sound out and doubling down on their main elements.

A Body Wrapped In Plastic: Prologue’ is a strong, heavy opener – nothing that you’ve not heard before, but still a crushing, low-tuned assault to get the album going. Its monolithic ending breakdown is particularly titanic. Following tracks ‘The Cycle of Hate Part 1’ and ‘Ritual Division (HAUS)’ are a bit faceless, but keep the momentum going, and are bound to be live additions. Things take a sideways turn on Scars For You To Remember centrepiece, and biggest change, ‘Circles’. One of the record’s singles, the song is straight-up melodic and traditionally-structured, with clean vocals dominating proceedings. Is it a step too far away from the usual Varials‘ playbook? Only the group’s true fans will be able to judge that, but for us, it disrupts the flow and is out of place.

While solid throughout, Varials problem is that they just don’t stand out enough. It’s easy to play ‘spot the influences’; whether it’s the Emmure-sounding title track or the Loathe-esque ‘Phantom Power’. Not to say it’s poor material – there is potential here – it’s just the guitar and drum work is a little painted-by-numbers. Rogers’ on debut does a decent job, mostly focusing on mid-range screams. His low growls are strong, yet underutilised throughout. LP highlight ‘Day 3: Revenge’ features a great guest spot from the perennially pissed off Matthew Honeycutt (Kublai Khan TX), while ‘.50’ is definitely the standout of the record. As another preview song released before the album dropped, it’s heavy, manic and relentless, with the occasional nu-metal style creeping lead guitar poking its head through the mix.

Wrapped in a safe production job, Scars For You To Remember does have its moments, and a handful are truly massive. However, Varials just aren’t bringing anything fresh to the table – not that every artist has to be reinventing the wheel of course. However, when there are A LOT of bands delivering this style of music, it takes a truly special and/or unique group to stand out from the crowd. Kudos to them for changing things up on ‘Circles’, but that melodic detour may detract more fans than gain. Modern metalcore lovers are sure to lap this up, but for others, whilst heavy as all hell at times, Varials just aren’t doing enough to stick out in an oversaturated market.

Varials Scars For You To Remember

VarialsScars For You To Remember tracklisting

1. A Body Wrapped In Plastic : Prologue
2. The Cycle of Violence : Chapter 1
3. Ritual Division (HAÜS)
4. Scars For You To Remember
5. Day 3 : Revenge feat. Matt Honeycutt of Kublai Khan TX, Jay Webster of Unity TX & Andrew Hileman of I Am)
6. Phantom Pain : Chapter 2
7. Circles
8. Phantom Power feat. Darius Tehrani of SPITE
9. The Gold Room : Chapter 3
10. .50
11. You Were Never Safe Here : Chapter 4
12. Halo Of The Sun

Rating: 5.5/10
Scars For You To Remember out now on Fearless Records. Order here
Review By – Andrew Kapper. Twitter: @andrew_kapper 

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