Review Summary: Interesting, freaky and face melting tech-death fun with elements from thrash and industrial metal.
Did I just write “with elements from thrash and industrial”? That’s kind of stupid since “Luminiferous” pretty much is an “industrial death metal” album with a lot of “thrasy” songs, but it’s just easier to call them “technical death metal” since it’s...technical, I guess. Thankfully I’m not guessing on this review so I know that “Scarve” is a really technical band overall, but “Luminiferous” is hardly their most “tech-deathy” release.
Dirk Verbeuren (Soilwork+a lot of other stuff) does the drumming in “Luminiferous” and just by knowing that this gets pretty darn interesting. “Scarve” is actually one of Dirk’s first serious death metal bands since he was the drummer right from the start with the demo simply called “Scarve”, which was released in 1994. This album does not only feature Dirk, but also the vocals of “Guillaume Bideau” (Mnemic)! Well, atleast I think he’s good. Since “Scarve” had two singers during the recording of “Luminiferous” “Guillaume” wasn’t really that notable. He’s main assignment was to sing the clean parts and I think he did one hell of a job with that, but I will write more about the vocals later in the review.
“Freaky” is a word that pretty much sums up the entire album. It’s hard to explain when an album is being “freaky”, but it’s the kind of feeling you get from albums like “Close To A World below” by “Immolation” or any “Deathspell Omega” album. “Luminiferous” does it a bit worse though, but that’s only because I compared it with titans in the metal genre. I still think “Scarve” sucseeded fairly well with the disturbing atmosphere in “Luminiferous” . The sucseeding of this scary atmosphere is all thanks to Guillaume Bideau. His clean vocals during the choruses are really sick and twisted, which is the ultimate key to why this album rocks hard. The other vocalist is of course also very good and he does a great job growling during the verses which are often a bit faster than the choruses. The growler adds to the rhythm and heaviness of the album. Both vocalists also have a lot of parts where they growl together and those parts are awesome. As a conclusion, the vocals are astounding and certainly an important part of “Luminiferous”. I also think they are very original for the reason that they are really haunting and many different sound effects are added to the vocals throughout the album.
I have already pretty much stated that Dirk Verbeuren is amazing in this, but let’s not stop there. The drumming rocks! Technical, fast, brutal and heavy as cornflakes! “Luminiferous” got it all when it comes to the drums. Dirk was clearly influenced by “Meshuggah” during the recording of this brain buster of an album. The sound of the snare is nasty and the drumming overall is still fairly original. Blast beats also occur in “Luminiferous” but they are not overused.
The guitars on this one is also a real blast up the butt. It has a really unique tone to it and is also one of the main reasons why this album has a great atmosphere. It’s hard to explain how the guitar sounds, but it’s a little bit like the guitar sound “Ulcerate” uses, but they are still pretty unrelated since “Ulcerate’s” sound is just way darker and heavier overall. The guitar on this album is often just fast tremolos whit occasional haunting accords. You really have to hear it for yourself, but there is just one more thing I have to say about the guitar sound...It’s super freaky. As for the bass I can’t complain, but it’s nothing special at all. The bass is well written and all, but it’s not as much in your face as it could have been. That leads to one of the complains I have about this album: It feels a bit weak at points. You can barely hear the bass and the guitar feels kind of “light” sometimes. This is mostly the production’s fault. Even though the production on “Luminiferous” might suck at points it still has a charm to it and it’s just another thing to increase the atmosphere. The production is at least good in general.
“Luminiferous” has a total of eleven songs which of one is a cover of the songs “Serpent Speech” by “Entombed”. Apparently the song “Serpent Speech” is from an EP called “Hollowman” which I wasn’t to familiar with. It’s still a very good cover, but nothing too special. At least it’s not a complete butchering of the original. All the remaining songs are worth listening to and there are few weak songs, which is a big plus, but as you are listening to this album you will notice that it lacks musical variety. Luckily “Scarve” is one of those bands that can ignore such a thing since they are really different. Throughout the review I have only compared “Scarve” with other bands, but only with particular sounds.
To be honest is “Scarve” a darn original band and they are, in fact, more or less indescribable as I have stated before. If you want something different, then I certainly recommend “Luminiferous”.