Trophy Scars
Never Born, Never Dead


5.0
classic

Review

by Nevin USER (56 Reviews)
October 12th, 2011 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A trembling hand with big ideas.

When first listening to Trophy Scars fresh summer EP, Never Born, Never Dead, I found myself making strange connections between the music and the classic Mafioso film The Godfather. There was a cinematic entrancement about the way the music flowed and how the writing climaxed just at the right moment like a true theatrical masterpiece. Lead man Jerry Jones’ olive oil voice and New Jersey charm conjured images of the wedding scene at the beginning of Coppola’s film when Johnny Fontane sang to a group of swooning Italians, all the while the Don was peering through the window of his empirical perch, making deals to kill men and redeem tragedies. It was the contrast between the sophisticated and traditional Italian life on the outside, and the brutal reality of the business within the house that made the Corleone family truly intimidating – artists of deceit and trickery. That same style of a fresh shine on the exterior, but with a savage interior, was brilliantly utilized on Never Born, Never Dead as it tells stories of love and death; vengeance and cruelty.

As the album rings into life with an ominous cacophony and a clip of Charles Manson (the first of many cleverly used samples), the stage is set for Jerry Jones to take over. His vocal work throughout the EP is unpredictable, as it can switch from a silky falsetto to a gravely shout at any given moment. The album begins powerful, with “Messengers” pulling no punches as it details the wicked life of a bloodthirsty criminal in a style reminiscent of a classic Spaghetti Western. They utilized this same technique for the next track, “Snake Oil” – a tense tale with gritty instrumentation to accentuate Jones’ guttural vocals. This first half of the record is most reminiscent of Trophy Scars earlier work as a more traditional post-hardcore group, but as “Snake Oil” fades out with its sinister piano, they immediately introduce the softer side of the record.

“Angels” begins with piano work reminiscent of something that could be found in a 1940s jukebox. With another tale of love and loss flowing with the melodic piano and drumming patterns, brilliantly concluded with a heartbreaking sample from Lost, they come to the peak of the album. “Never Dead”, perhaps one of the best songs to come from 2011, is as tragic as it is charming. Jones’ clashing vocal style working at its best with the distorted strumming of the electric guitar and subtle horn usage comes to an incredible crescendo as the song fades into another fantastic sample from the 2002 film Adaptation.

With its final theatric hurrah, Never Born, Never Dead ends with “Never Born”, a calming song to properly conclude the album’s overwhelming ferocious nature. Through the album’s ups and down, there is never a moment of filler or a note that seems unnecessary. The instrumentation that adjusts itself for the subject matter of each song and never plays second to the writing or vocals ties the album together in a flawless fashion. Easily the EP of 2011, Never Born, Never Dead takes every important aspect of music – writing, instrumentation, atmosphere, singing – and ties them together in a way rarely paralleled and a cinematic fashion that would give Coppola a run for his money.



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user ratings (686)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
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John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF (5)
The kind of record that can make you believe in music again...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Slum
October 12th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

in which i make shitty references and act as pretentious as possible

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2011


22072 Comments


yeah we get it, it's good

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

acorncheese
October 12th 2011


7119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this one has naturally grown off of me a little bit since its release. might lower to a 4. darkness is the better of the two for sure.

Piglet
October 12th 2011


4665 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hey man. good review.

Slum
October 12th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

yeah we get it, it's good

oh cool thanks i'll keep that in mind.

thanks, piglet.

taxidermist
October 12th 2011


7212 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Josh is a faggot. Oh yeah, good review. Loved the intro, but after that it reads like a REALLY good track by track, lol. I didn't pause once though, so that must be a good thing. Pos bro.

Slum
October 12th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I can see that, but with six tracks I figured I may as well talk about each song. Thanks man

NewOrleansSwimTeam
October 12th 2011


39 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

'I've waited my whole damn life to turn my whole damn life around'

taxidermist
October 12th 2011


7212 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, there's not much to write about with only 6 tracks, 1 being an intro, haha. So 5 tracks? :-p

Slum
October 12th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Indeed, but fuck it's such a great intro. That manson clip is so perfectly used

cvlts
October 12th 2011


8986 Comments


sweet review bro. still haven't decided what to make of this band yet

taxidermist
October 12th 2011


7212 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh no I've been called a faggot over the interwebz!

Not the first time.

And yeah, that Manson clip is awesoooooooome!

Slum
October 12th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks dante, much appreciated

taxidermist
October 12th 2011


7212 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Not trying to bother you, just simply stating the obvious.

Oh yeah, Trophy Scars snippet "leaked" by Jerry himself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fhv5iRF2XYo

Enjoy it dudes.

Slum
October 12th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Will check it out after school, fuck this blocked youtube shit

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2011


24098 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"darkness is the better of the two for sure. "

nope

oh and fuck fish
(shit I say that a lot)

Digging: Mitski - bury me at makeout creek

Slum
October 12th 2011


2579 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

my alternate summary was: in which Jerry Jones says fuck fish

fuckthatnoise
October 12th 2011


1479 Comments


that clip sounds awesome. sounds like something that wouldn't have felt out of place on Bad Luck.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 12th 2011


24098 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

yeah that clip rules. I can't wait for the LP to come out so I can 5 it.

ThyCrossAwaits
October 12th 2011


3065 Comments


As lovely as the Manson shpeal is, the LOST clip is so much better.

Digging: Old Man Gloom - The Ape of God I



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