Album review: Once Human – Scar Weaver

Melodic death metal machine Once Human amplify everything they previously excelled at on next-level album Scar Weaver...

Album review: Once Human – Scar Weaver
Steve Beebee

If they were hammering on the doors before, they’re virtually smashing them down now. Once Human, the band put together by former Machine Head guitarist Logan Mader and fronted by the fearsome throat of Lauren Hart, are three albums old. This one, following up 2017’s more conceptually inclined Evolution, has been the unit’s most painstaking creation, thanks to endless pandemic-related delays and impediments.

Thankfully though, this extra time has given the quintet time to appraise and reappraise their always hostile output – and what they’ve ended up with is something so cathartic it could easily be the demolition ball that swings them through to a new level. After the crunch and djent-style powerhouse moves of opener Eidolon comes Deadlock, on which Lauren duets with Machine Head legend Robb Flynn, who also co-produced the track. Thanks to the extra time available, Robb also remodelled the song’s now mighty hook. It’s both a big statement and an apt preview of what’s to come.

Even better perhaps is Where The Bones Lie, a deliciously thunderous collision of metal and skewed melody. Logan has generously credited fellow guitarist Max Karon for providing this album’s creative pulse, and some of it, such as the serrated climax to the title track is stuff that grabs your head and screams its message into your face. Cold Arrival and Only In Death manage to be anthemic and heavy at the same time, while Bottom Feeder takes a more progressive approach, but never wavers in its intensity. Even on the hell-for-leather gallop of We Ride, Lauren manages to sound like two singers at once, momentarily causing you to wonder if there are more duets afoot. There aren’t; she really is that good.

Scar Weaver may have had a difficult birth, but this new chapter is all the more compulsive for it.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: Arch Enemy, Trivium, Jinjer

Scar Weaver is released on February 11 via earMUSIC.

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