Instrumental metal. Not a huge sub-genre in a world full of charismatic and memorable frontmen, but it does exist. Step forward Scava from Glasgow, new additions to the instrumental fold, with a sound which is very much “metal”. All types of it, all floating around a central core of “traditional”, all blended together to make something which is very listenable indeed.
This self-released and self-titled EP features five tracks of reasonable length, each with a different feel. It does feel like there are more than three instruments being played at times, so I think there’s a bit of cheating going on and they’re actually even more talented than we’re supposed to have realised.
Opener “Bastard Samurai” is straight on trad metal, but with guitar tones than lift from the thrash world. It’s a bit of a banger without being too in-your-face and the lack of vocals means it’s structure is more like a piece of music than a patterned (verse / chorus / verse / chorus / sidestep / chorus) song. It’s followed by “Malnourished Minister” which lets the clean / acoustic guitars take over. Laid back and vaguely proggy, this one flows more than hammers for the most part, but does contain some nice dirty, chugging bits.
“The Great Leap Forward” is almost 9 minutes long and is quite trippy. Definitely more of a “background music” track, it’s one you can pop on while you’re doing something else and suddenly find yourself tapping your foot to.
“Metropolis Octopus” is far more in-your-face. A sludgy downbeat rhythm overlaid with alternate wailing and distorted guitars, it’s slow and pleasantly evil, and doesn’t want to be ignored. The EP wraps with “8QU” which adds a touch of funk to proceedings with an interesting opening riff which gives way to probably the most up-tempo number of the five.
With shades of Satriani, it’s a shame not to give credit to the rhythm section as well. So I will. Guitars and bass are as important as the guitars throughout! The production and mixing is perfect as well. Without having to worry about vocals getting lost or trampling all over the music, the band have managed to get everything sounding nice and meaty with every note and thump as clear as it should be.
I’ll still always prefer a song I can sing (badly) along to, but for those times when I want music on without distracting me too much, instrumental stuff is a godsend. Especially when it’s as good as this.
Scava is out now via Bandcamp for only £3