Scars for You to Remember
ATMOSPHERIC HARDCORE: Amid extremes, balance emerges. Since their debut album Pain Again in 2017, hardcore quintet Varials has worked tirelessly for the past five years to bring their vision to fruition. While Varials’ earlier raw, pessimistic, heavier style gave birth to their forlorn, restrained, and abrasive 2019 effort In Darkness, they felt something was still missing from their lyrical and instrumental framework. So, when it came to producing their new album, Scars for You to Remember, they fully embraced the experience to achieve heavy moments that were also catchy and structured.
Full of songs that alternate from massive intensity to melodic elegance, Scars for You to Remember capitalizes, strengthens, and broadens the band’s horizons with crushing heaviness, canorous poise, and deeply atmospheric touches.
Scars for You to Remember begins with its first colossal experience, “A Body Wrapped in Plastic: Prologue.” It leads to one of the album’s most imposing atmospheric moments, “The Cycle of Violence: Chapter 1,” displaying devastating guitar riffs, breakdowns, and a barrage of percussive energy. Aggressive and unrelenting, Varials keeps its punishing energy going while showing their creative thirst to experiment with cinematic touches throughout with the following highlight, “Ritual Division (HAUS).”
The onslaught continues with their best combination of hardcore melodic instrumentation on the record, “Day 3: Revenge.” Many of the moments on Scars for You to Remember have been heavy lyrically and instrumentally up to this point. “Day 3: Revenge” is where much of that balance is in perfect harmony.
The energy changes with the more subdued “Circles.” Intense and focused on the more melodic and atmospheric side of things, it is a welcomed approach on the record, showing the band is capable of more than just beatdown experiences.
Other efforts, such as “Phantom Power,” continue to hold the fort and exude defiant metallic power while carrying on the ferocious vigor of previous excursions.
The album concludes with thematic intensity, where “Halo of the Sun” delivers the last punch of galvanizing guitar riffs and pummeling drums. Colliding with a force of experimental melodicism and trademark guttural screams heard throughout the album, Scars for You to Remember comes to a meditative close.
Scars for You to Remember is Varials’ most focused effort. Showing a willingness to branch out and explore outside of their comfort zone but still keep things within their hardcore wheelhouse, Varials has delivered a more concentrated record this time when it comes to diversifying and experimenting with their sound. While there is no telling where their next record will take them, Scars for You to Remember demonstrates that they have matured beyond their previous two efforts. ~ Sammie Starr