Trophy Scars: Holy Vacants

When you load this into iTunes the genre is given as “punk”, which is a bit like saying Gilbert and George draw.

The album is about (wait for it) a conspiracy theory surrounding the Nephilitic gene. The album revolves around the tale of two lovers who discover not only that the blood of angels contains the fountain of youth, but also the formula for Qeres: an ancient Egyptian perfume claimed to be the only substance that can kill angels and Nephilites — as you all know, the latter are the offspring of angels/human unions. Armed with this knowledge, the couple embark on a killing spree, drinking spilled Nephilitic blood to stop growing old. It’s not exactly your standard lyrical fare.

review holy scars x1 cong
Musically it’s as complicated, a kind of musical Nephilite cross between Gaslight Anthem, Guns n Roses, the Boss, Jimi Hendrix and Green Day. It’s so muscular we feared that any critical comments would see the CD force open the Review Corner player and force us to arm wrestle to settle our beef.

Opener Extant is neat and precise rock: slow, bluesy, with a big, simple beat and vocals that go from melodic to howling with the intensity of a werewolf stuck in a mantrap, as well as some guitar licks that suggest Slash standing on a cliff with lightning flashing behind him.

Qeres picks up immediately from the opener, transforming its slow blues into more psychedelic rock, the same tune with a shot of adrenalin. There’s brass and Pink Floyd-style choral harmony. Archangel starts off more conventionally, with piano and a blues/rock n roll beat.

The lyrics are knowingly portentous: you want grandiose lyrics? You got ‘em. “At 6am I was counting large stacks of cash / You were feasting on the body of an angel in a taxi cab / Though the driver was scared / We paid him not to care / Cheers to our youth, angel blood, and the heavens, and our reckless past.” Hell, yeah.

In the lightweight-sounding Crystallophobia, a pleasant female vocal cheerfully sings: “For every God we claimed was good, did you think we’d be left rotting in the woods?”, followed shortly after by a vacuous guitar break of the kind a mindless FM radio band would stick in a song about dancing round a Christmas tree.

We guess they’re self-aware from lyrics like this: Qeres ends with the narrator stuck in limbo for eternity thusly: “And it goes on and on and on and on / On and on and on and on / Angels forever will sing this song / On and on and on.” Ho ho.
We’d never really heard of Trophy Scars, but they’re a post-hardcore band from New Jersey. They have a very loyal fanbase. On the strength of this we can see why: it’s gloriously, cinematically inspired.
Never mind post-hardcore, they’ve invented post-Springsteen. Out now.

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