As they were before, they are now - awesome
It's hard to believe it's been four years since Californian (Oakland) based Scorched-Earth Policy last released any new music (2002's independently released E.P. Salvage Nothing), but once again the quartet (Comprising of vocalist/guitarist Mark Lamb, guitarist Carlos Santiago, bassist Terry Goss and drummer Lance Lea) have put together another stunning collection of original tunes for their fourth effort MMVI. Once again joined once again by noted co-producer/co-mixer Thilo Fehlinger (Exodus, Skinlab, 40 Grit), Scorched-Earth Policy have once again delivered another seven track effort that shows the progression the band have made over the last four years.
The opening track Dropping Names is the first to show the contrast between Lamb's vocals and the now departed Richard Perot (Who featured on Salvage Nothing), with his delivery adding a little more raw aggression to Perot's subtle melodic style, while on the musical side of things, the track drifts from straight out progressive thrash, with a touch of a stoner like groove heard in places. There's no mistaking the thrash like influences on the driving Heartland, but it's the small moments of groove (Not to mention the searing solo around the half way mark) that really make the track stand out from the tried and true formula of most, while the laid back Train Rolls Without You completely turns things around with its easy going heavy rock groove, melodic vocals and infectious melodies.
Obviously recorded in an experimental frame of mind, the short Still The King (1935 - 1977) has Lamb butchering (In his own terms) the drum and bass underneath a bizarre tragic tale (Voiced by Goss) around a peanut butter/banana sandwich for Elvis gone wrong (Listen out for the awesome scream around the three quarter mark), while Regeneration returns the E.P. back to the heavier and thrashier side of things with a huge thumping groove provided by Lea on the kit. The instrumental Memorial Day allows Lamb to stretch his abilities on the six strings in tribute to many metal/hard rock legends that sadly passed away over the last few years, while the set is completed with the cover of Neil Young's Don't Let It Bring You Down, which also featured on Salvage Nothing (Under the title of D.L.I.B.Y.D., and featured Perot on vocals). Although identical the version that appeared on their last effort, I assume that its reprisal is due to its appearance on the upcoming metal tribute to Young due later in the year (Through Metaledge Records). Regardless, the reworking still holds its appeal four years later, and fits well within the context of the other songs.
The only disappoint to be really found with MMVI is something that's completely out of the bands hands, and that's the music industries complete lack of foresight in hearing talent when its clearly blasting away in front of them. I honestly can't recommend Scorched-Earth Policy or MMVI enough other than to say check it out. They were one of the more original sounding and genuinely genre free acts within the underground scene for years ago, and the same can be said today.
(Scorched-Earth Music/Independent Release)