Trophy Scars
Holy Vacants


5.0
classic

Review

by atrink USER (75 Reviews)
April 24th, 2014 | 249 replies


Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The first truly perfect record of the year.

While the summary may seem a bit hyperbolic or even downright ridiculous, I truly believe in its sentiment. There are not many albums that come around and completely turn a myriad of music scenes right on their head; Trophy Scars’ magnum opus Holy Vacants is one such record. Originating as front man Jerry Jones's 35 page screen play, this record has been long in the making and while it had been greeted with many, many delays, was worth every second of the wait. Where past releases take different approaches to storytelling and songwriting, this record is a true permutation of all of the bands previous releases.

As with most Trophy Scars records, Holy Vacants is a concept record. As lofty a concept record as one will ever encounter, this record follows the lives of two lovers who find the fountain of youth in the blood of angels, making for an album full of religious overtones and vivid descriptions of drinking deceased angels blood. Whereas past releases saw Trophy Scars occasionally stray from the storyline of their overarching theme, often drifting from abstract thought to abstract thought, Holy Vacants is perfectly focused. Every song serves to advance a concept that, while seemingly a tad daft, delve tactfully into many universal topics, be it hanging on to glory years, or a belonging to a doomed relationship. Jones's main tool to develop every character found on this record is simple dialogue between the two lovers. These concepts are so perfectly advanced due in large part to the inclusion of a female vocal section/choir in nearly every single track, making the over bloated lyrical concept entirely fresh and quite frankly, worth it. Occasionally past releases would implement female vocals, but with a full time choir backing the band the lyrical concept just makes much more sense on initial listens. Whereas the female speaking of past concepts had fallen upon Jones, the inclusion of the female choir makes it obvious when voices are shifting and new characters are speaking.

In all actuality there are many words that can describe the lyrical concept found on this record: ambitious, dense, conflated maybe even teetering on pretentious. But I think that the best way to describe this record as a whole is intricate. Nearly every song includes string arrangements, bluesy guitar riffs, soaring keyboards/organs , blaring horns and intimate storytelling. Album opener “Extant” seems to trod upon new ground for Trophy Scars, harkening to post-rock aspects of Trophy Scars past before exploding into lead single “Qeres”, a song that accurately sums up what can be found on the rest of the record, with bombastic, driving choruses and a new and improved beefy bass line. Songs such as “Gutted” or “Every City Vacant” display Trophy Scars mastery of incorporating blues into traditional post-hardcore music, while “Burning Mirror” harkens back to days of old; driving and brooding until bursting into one of the bands most memorable choruses.

As to be expected with a record that mixes nearly every aspect of Trophy Scars, Jerry’s trademark growl is still ever present on the entirety of this record, but at many times plays second fiddle to an apparent renaissance of singing, with both approaches often layered throughout. While this vocal approach may admittedly take some getting used to, do not let it deter you from delving deeply into one of the better records to be released in the past few years. There are just too many jaw-droppingly beautiful moments on this record to be overlooked, be it the haunting ending of one of the records best songs “Everything Disappearing”, the entirety of the ‘shot-in-the-arm’ track “Vertigo” or the chilling atmosphere and guest vocals (courtesy of Fear Before’s Adam Fisher) of “Chicago Typewriter” every song brings something entirely unique, yet somehow cohesive to the table.

Even when there are musical moments that should quite frankly fail, Trophy Scars somehow manages to make them work. One of the most poignant examples of this would be the last 40 seconds of “Crystallophobia”, where listeners are treated with an homage to arena rock, soaring anthems. Yet somehow this ending is personally one of the most memorable moments of the entire record, a moment that will undoubtedly remain in the minds of every listener. Even when lines make you want to cringe, you just don’t as they fit perfectly within the context of the story line. Even when a guitar riff would feel forced with any other band, it just doesn’t with Trophy Scars, a true testament to the song writing capabilities of Jones and lead guitarist John Ferrara.

This record finally feels like the album that Trophy Scars was heading for ever since their drastic change in style in 2009’s Bad Luck, combining every aspect that makes Trophy Scars one of the most unique and refreshing bands currently making music. Although the record at times bends under the weight of the concept, Holy Vacants never strays too far from the path it started on five years ago, cementing Trophy Scars as one of the most creative and interesting active bands.



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user ratings (896)
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Channing Freeman STAFF (5)
You're just lonely sometimes....

MattGandee (5)
Five years since their last full-length and three years since their last EP, Trophy Scars hit back w...



Comments:Add a Comment 
atrink
April 24th 2014


2855 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm sure this didn't need another five star review,and I hope the conversation stays on the other review, but I haven't reviewed in a while and this is honestly shaping up to be one of my favorite records in a long long time.





GhettoHmbrglr
April 24th 2014


1022 Comments


summary is similar (the same) as the one for the staff review of NBND.. Not sure if thats intentional. . Good album.

fallenbird
April 24th 2014


4493 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Album rocks socks, pos

atrink
April 24th 2014


2855 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh man is it really? Here i was thinking i was being all edgy or something, but it was probably in my subconscious from that review : (

atrink
April 24th 2014


2855 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank for pointing that out man

fallenbird
April 24th 2014


4493 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

New summary still works

atrink
April 24th 2014


2855 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Lol i tried

fallenbird
April 24th 2014


4493 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I do agree though, this is the first truly perfect album I've heard from this year. I love it so much.

fallenbird
April 24th 2014


4493 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-double post

atrink
April 24th 2014


2855 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm glad you agree. I finally decided this afternoon is was worth the 36 dollars it took to buy the vinyl and ship it to the states lol

KritikalMotion
April 24th 2014


2280 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this is such a finely crafted sound by them, probably my favourite release by them

MattGandee
April 24th 2014


39 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think it goes without saying that I completely agree with this review, but excellent job nonetheless.

VheissuCrisis
Emeritus
April 24th 2014


1389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sup Atrink nice write up man. I'll check this out, never listened to these guys before.



I'd take a look at changing this line though it reads awkwardly;



"Originating as front man Jerry Jones 35 page screen play, this record has been long in the making and while it had been greeted with many, many delays, but was worth every second of the wait."

Aids
April 24th 2014


24509 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Give this a proofread man. I just skimmed but found four errors

ti0n
April 24th 2014


1769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

oh come on with dem 5's

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
April 24th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what 5s

ethos
April 24th 2014


1894 Comments


idk

PunchforPunch
April 24th 2014


7085 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wow h8er

ethos
April 24th 2014


1894 Comments


lmao, yeah still don't get this after like six attempted listens
but never born/dead took some time at first so we'll see

TooLateToGoBack
April 24th 2014


2106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

absolutely yes



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