Scorpion Child

Scorpion Child (Nuclear Blast)

Texas Platters

Scorpion Child

(Nuclear Blast)

Less enamored of the new wave of British heavy metal than its fellow contemporaries, Scorpion Child pledges troth to the early Seventies, when hundreds of proto-metal bands joined Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath in redefining the art of the riff. The Austin quintet doesn't imitate the standard forebears on its full-length debut for major label metal imprint Nuclear Blast, even if the John Bonham thud and golden god howl of opener "Kings Highway" indicate otherwise. Instead, the gnarled, psychedelic roots of early metal feed the Child's headbanging. "Your remorse finds a virtual Zen," asserts singer Aryn Black in "Antioch," dismissing sleazy seduction from power balladry with a psychotropic twinkle in his eye. "Salvation Slave" interrupts its dramatic stomp with a dreamy midsection, while the anthem "Red Blood (The River Flows)" swells from acoustic guitars and bongos to power chords and wails, dissolving its celebratory wistfulness into cricket noises and pastoral acid pop. It's not all electric fairy tales, either. The brawny "Liquor" pushes addiction agony ("I've been aching lately to see you again/And lose another friend") through a melody rippling with thunderous power, and heartbroken stomper "The Secret Spot" climbs a guitar wall four decades thick. The locals find their sweet spot with "Polygon of Eyes," a perfect marriage of chugging verses and wide open chorus breathlessly fielding the lyric, "A time sent event horizon will leave our stories behind." Produced by Chris "Frenchie" Smith, Scorpion Child keeps jeans on its hips and stars on its brow.

***.5

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