Scalpture – Feldwärts [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Sometimes it’s nice to delegate the task of scouting great albums to the rabble. Having a Discord server makes the delegation process even easier. A few months back, one particular Discordian—a Kitty of great renown and impeccable taste—delivered the single best rec of the year with Scalpture’s third full-length slab of death, Feldwärts. Hailing from the Bielefeld region of Germany, the quintet specialize in the historical record of military conflict as their lyrical focus, with this newest opus detailing scenes from World War I. Keeping that in mind, you wouldn’t expect the record to be what you’d call “fun.”

Except, Feldwärts is massively, addictingly fun. Despite the gritty imagery and equally gritty tones adopted by the instruments, this chunky slab of Bolt Thrower meets 1914 meets Headshrinker death metal will get your head banging and your neck breaking in record time. There is no shortage of groove or heft, and a tasteful application of hardcore aesthetics á la Harm’s Way (especially present in the clunky bass and phlegmy vocals) brings depth and gravity to already destructive tunes. Songs take on a variety of tempos and textures, ranging from doom-laden plods in the tense calm before a storm to raging peals across a war-torn hellscape perforated by a hail of bullets.

For thirty-nine relentless minutes, Scalpture beat your body into a fine pulp, throw in a few heaping scoops of protein isolate and gunpowder, and chug you down. Album highlights “To End All Wars,” “Ils n’ont pas passé,” “Challenging an Empire,” “Stahlbad,” and “Landships” offer the biggest bang for your hard-won buck, feeling every bit as monumental as their subject matter would suggest. Opener “To End All Wars” is a particularly strong example, comprising of two equally visceral phases—one motivated by groove and hook, the other by doom and desperation—separated by a single instance of one of the most hammering riffs of the year. Meanwhile, the brutality of “Challenging an Empire” and “Landships” aptly alludes to the violence and scale of the first world war at its most deadly, driving the record mercilessly forward at opposite, but critical points of the record’s tight runtime.

Feldwärts forges onward as a blunt instrument tailor-made to deliver maximum impact at each and every junction. Lyrically, the subject matter is provided to the listener in such a matter-of-fact recount of events that it almost feels detached from the pain and suffering of those who fought (“Thunder in the East”). In reality, Scalpture’s cold and uncompromising words come alive through the music and tortured vocal delivery, painting a vivid picture of war far more honest and affecting than you might expect. Through this particular methodology, Scalpture highlights in stark detail the grief, horror, devastation, and needless death that war on this scale inevitably brings (“Stahlbad”).

Needless to say, Feldwärts caught me off guard, coming through the recommendation pipeline into my arms, and ripping me apart in an instant. There is nothing released this year quite like it, and Scalpture have earned themselves a new fan because of it. Gripping, serious, but also fun and impossible to put down, Feldwärts should be on each and every one of your radars. Just be prepared for total obliteration once it strikes.

Tracks to Check Out: “To End All Wars,” “Ils n’ont pas passé,” “Stahlbad,” “Landships”


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