SCORPION CHILD – ACID ROULETTE
Release Date: June 10th, 2016
It feels like a lifetime ago, but it has only been three years since Scorpion Child released their self titled debut album. Their classic hard rock influenced sound blended with their solid passion made that debut one of the best albums of 2013. You can read that review here. At the time I called them a poor man’s Monster Truck, (though Scorpion Child are a little harder around the edges) as both bands released albums that year, the latter of the two being one of only three albums I’ve ever given a perfect score to. Scorpion Child have finally returned with their second output Acid Roulette, and as any band who bursts on to the scene with a killer debut, the pressure is on for them to at least match the momentum.
One thing is for sure right off the bat on Acid Roulette, and that is how Scorpion Child are still as ferociously driven as they were in 2013. Maybe even more so now with a new lineup that only features two returning members: Lead Guitarist Christopher Jay Cowart, whose groovy riffs and hard-hitting style of playing propel Scorpion Child from being just another hard rock band, and vocalist Aryn Jonathan Black, whose voice (which still reminds me of Dave King of 80’s hard rock band Fastway) defines and radiates the sound of Scorpion Child, making it appealing to lovers of both classic and modern hard rock.
Acid Roulette‘s opening track She Sings I Kill is the first sign that Scorpion Child are picking things up right where they left off in 2013. The new rhythm section of Jon “The Charn” Rice on drums and Alec Caballero Padron on bass perfectly capture the groove that their predecessors set. Also, the effectiveness of Aaron John “AJ” Vincent, the full-time keyboardist who joined Scorpion Child last year, doesn’t go unnoticed on this track or any other. While this opening track is as solid as I could have hoped for, its following tracks Reaper’s Danse and My Woman In Black surpass my hopes of a more melodic Scorpion Child. Both songs have amazing hooks, mostly thanks to Aryn’s vocals, and both songs are completely different. Reaper’s Danse is a heavy driving tune that doesn’t take a break at shoving loud energetic hard rock in your face, while My Woman In Black takes a slower, darker undertone that concentrates more on structure and songwriting than just about any Scorpion Child song I’ve heard by this point.
By the ending of Acid Roulette‘s slow bluesy title track, you may think you’ve heard the best of what Scorpion Child have to offer. Sure, Winter Side of Deranged, while being such a strong track, doesn’t quite equal to the greatness of the tracks that come before it, and the minute long interlude Séance serves to be just a moment of brief, yet creepy dialogue, but then you finally get to Twilight Coven. This track takes that more melodic Scorpion Child that was present earlier, and yet again raises the bar with perhaps the most dominatingly catchy chorus on Acid Roulette while the music behind it rocks as immaculately hard as ever.
But wait, it doesn’t end there! Moon Tension and Tower Grove round off Acid Roulette‘s best songs, both being in the class of the handful of songs that I think best show Scorpion Child‘s evolution over the last three years. There are other important moments on Acid Roulette as well, such as their first real ballad, Survives. The first album had the song Antiosh, which was a very soft-hearted tune, and hell, I would argue that it was a ballad, but I don’t think anyone would disagree that this piano driven love song that is Survives is a true ballad. I like Survives the more I listen to it, especially when the full band kicks in. It’s not the best ballad ever recorded, this coming from a guy who always seems to pick the love songs over anything else on an album, but it’s a solid start for future endeavors into softer songs.
Then there are other strong outputs on Acid Roulette such as Might Be Your Man and Blind Man’s Shine. Both songs show how Scorpion Child are one of the better blues-based hard rock bands going. Addictions is a good groovy closing track for the album, but the song (and album) ends with a long soundtrack of ocean waves, which is something similar to what they did on their debut that kind of annoyed me as much as it does this time, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the album.
There are plenty of great albums out there. There have been plenty of bands who have disappointed with their next outputs (many in this past year alone) and also a few who have one upped themselves. To say Scorpion Child took things one step further with Acid Roulette would actually be an understatement. They’ve completely ascended to a new level of songwriting and maturity. Each song has a way of having its own identity, something very important with any album that their debut album struggled with at times. Scorpion Child have set the bar quite high with Acid Roulette, but I’m sure they can match it in the future. One thing’s for sure, Acid Roulette is one of the finest albums I’ve ever reviewed.
Thanks for reading!
“My Woman In Black”
9.5 (Out of 10)
|1||She Sings, I Kill||5:03|
|3||My Woman in Black||4:11|
|5||Winter Side of Deranged||3:14|
|9||Blind Man’s Shine||4:38|
|12||I Might Be Your Man||5:56|