Scorpion Child (2013) Review

Current line-up:

Aryn Jonathan Black – Vocals
Christopher Jay Cowart – Lead Guitar
Jon “Charn” Rice – Drum
Alec “Mexecutioner” Padron – Bass
Aaron John Vincent – Keyboards (there are no keyboards in this record)

Tracklisting:

  1. Kings Highway
  2. Polygon of Eyes
  3. The Secret Spot
  4. Salvation Slave
  5. Liquor
  6. Antioch
  7. In the Arms of Ecstasy
  8. Paradigm
  9. Red Blood (The River Flows)

Scorpion Child’s debut (and self-titled) record offers up some vintage heavy blues rock. Images of rolling down long American highways, whiskey and Texas persist as you nod your way through Scorpion Child’s nine tracks of pure blues rock.

“The tension, the tension, the tension. Rolling on the wheel” Aryn Jonathan Black bellows at us in his voice that is hugely reminiscent of the tenor vocals of Cedric Bixler-Zavala (of The Mars Volta fame) at their best. There’s a huskier undertone to Black’s voice than Cedric’s however. He carries the heavier blues rock sound well. His lyrics talk of the highway, drugs and liquor – all things eponymous with the hard rock blues sound.

Indeed, Scorpion Child is about as pure sounding heavy rock blues as you’re going to hear. The riffs are chunky throughout, often rather slow, with appropriate levels of wig-outs to go along with them. It’s typically quite bright, friendly music. Then ‘Salvation Slave’ starts playing. Oof. It’s dark, heavy and quite similar to a classic Black Sabbath track. Black’s voice here is reminiscent to the best of Ozzy Osbourne. It’s a track that takes you aback. It’s a surprising, but ever so smart tonal shift.

Then it happens again with ‘Antioch’, a quieter, slower track that builds up to something of a crescendo. ‘In the Arms of Ecstasy’ turns things a little darker again. ‘Paradigm’ then speeds things up considerably. There’s a fair amount of variation in Scorpion Child’s debut record, covering a lot of classic hard rock and classic metal sounds at once. The issue is, there is a little too much variation for my liking, particularly in the second half of the record.

The opening three tracks and ‘Liquor’ play to a certain heavy blues sound that is a little lost on the rest of the album. You really get into it and then it all starts to change. Sure, the rest of the album is good (‘Salvation Slave’ is really rather excellent), but it’s not on the same level as the beginning of the record. I appreciate that the shifts in sound were to showcase all that the band can do, and sure, I get that an album made out of consistently similar-sounding tracks can drag on a little, but Scorpion Child is at its best when the tracks are fun, heavy blues numbers. The second half of the record drags on a little.


3.5/5

In some instances, Scorpion Child’s debut record is spectacularly good, but it does drag on a little during its second half. A solid effort.

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