Album Review: Rebel Scum – Ritual Sin

Rebel Scum are back and as usual, it’s hard to turn the volume down. It’s also next to impossible to skip a song. The new EP, Ritual Sin, is fist-pumping, circle-pitting, DRIVING thrash metal at its finest, with superbly consistent and powerful harsh vocals from new singer, Justin Foley. You might remember Justin from Buffalo melodic death metallers, Theatre Nocturne.

When it comes to this latest musical offering from Rebel Scum, released just yesterday (8/1/21), perhaps the term “thrash” just doesn’t do it justice this time around. Sure, the fun, upbeat rock ‘n’ roll vibe during the guitar solos and dirty chord-based verses is still alive and well, but with the introduction of Justin Foley on vocals certainly comes a hint of black metal in the music that may not have been so apparent on previous releases. The opening track, “Destruction of Virtue” hits fast and hard, with an impactful, grimy take on rock infused thrash metal, while the 2nd track, “Entrails of the Sacred Vesta”, attacks with a dragging 3/4 time signature, depressive black metal-esque chord progressions, and finally some good old fashioned “black ‘n’ roll” via the bridge/outro riff, a riff designed to get the windmills going.

“Human Anomaly” casts shades of early punk rock with a gradual volume increase on a quick 2-step groove on the drums, topped quickly by Foley’s expertly placed harsh rasps. Eareckson Murray’s drum fills are especially crucial on this track, perfectly accenting those riff transitions to give the track an overall old school vibe within the realms of punk and thrash. This is an excellent midway song, since it perfectly captures both sides of the band’s newly refined sonic spectrum.

Track 4, “Voyeur”, pulses with classic metal ferocity, offering a mid-paced headbanger with subtle leads playing off the implied melody of the rhythm guitars. The drums stomp with purpose, while Foley screams with a mid-’90s Gothenburg melodic death metal tone. It’s great to hear the juxtaposition between Foley’s Swedish influenced harsh vocals and the band’s extreme take on their modernized brand of the NWOBHM.

Finally, the title track, “Ritual Sin”, boasts right out the gate with some seriously dark riffing. These are some angry, evil chords to kick off the conclusion of this EP. Eareckson Murray gets a nice drum break in this song with some cool tom and double bass work. This drum groove ushers in another black metal style chord progression accompanied by some quick blast beats. Each song on this EP has a very unique moment buried within, and the blast beat passage on the title track is a prime example. Foley’s vocals also hit a uniquely lower register on this song, bordering on death metal gutturals, just before the lead guitar comes searing in. The solo utilizes a lot of sustained bends, perhaps some whammy bar if I’m not mistaken, almost giving the section one of those Slayer-esque dive bomb feelings. The song and EP close with some nice, descending single notes, perfectly placing a nightcap upon the evil theme of the riffs throughout this glorious 5-song offering from Rebel Scum.

Rebel Scum are:

Vocals — Justin Foley
Guitars — Brandon Schmitt
Bass — Kenny Zotara
Drums — Eareckson Murray

Check out the new EP here:

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