Scanner - The Judgement

Scanner The Judgement cover
The Judgement
Massacre Records
Scanner is a historical band with some quite cool speed-sci-fi inspired albums, then turning out, a couple of really inspired albums of lyrical metal, with the slightly “idiosyncratic” Leo-The Naked Duke, Leszek “Leo” Szpigiel, as vocalist, who was renamed into Harridon Lee… (!?) for “Ball of the Damned”. Then the band tried a female led line-up with a lady called Lisa Croft which while not terrible musically, felt, like quite a departure, from the bands style. The band imploded and tried different lineups, drafting in Greek-German vocalist Efthimios Ioannidis (from Levamnon) and performing with him on many occasions. For the next decade it was unclear if the band was still a going concern, but they always seemed to come back, in one way or other.
Now some thirteen years after the ill-fated “Scantropolis”, Scanner are back, with an album that feels a lot like the missing link between their early and mid-eras. Ioannidis, sets the tone, with his manly and quite dark delivery, which is quite versatile, while Axel “AJ” Julius, the band’s sole remaining member, on guitar duties is bursting out awesome riffs and solos, every other minute.
The “Intro” is an atmospheric introduction with a lovely guitar motif repeating over some soft keys, before “F.T.B” kicks in, demolishing all in its way. Mixing Scanner’s best moments with a mania, harkening back to the early days of Running Wild and a “Fuck the Bastards” mentality, this is, “the good stuff”!
And before one can fathom what just went down, the pretty awesome “Nevermore”, a mid-tempo, but taunting, blinder of a songs, heralds its arrival, with a barrage of riffs. What a “chorus”. To the point. Short and sweet, Scanner seem to have recaptured their “glorious past” and are spearheading into the future! Retro? (Well retro-sounding, certainly, but with a modern enough production) but awesome. Lyrical and powerful.
“Warlord” finds Ioannidis, attempting some piercing shrieking falsettos, over a couple of riffs, that could easily rip the flesh from your bones. Another cool, chorus!!! Wow!
“Eutopia” – due to the spelling and the lyrical content, seems to be a continuation of the bands, early sci-fi concepts! Another amazing riff, drives the song, while Ioannidis, switches between heavy and piercing vocals, seamlessly.
The title track “The Judgement” is a more quirky and extremely dark track, at least lyrically, that’s quite quirky. Somewhat slower than the majority of tunes on the album, but not that much, it changes the mood of the album quite drastically.
The epic and mostly fast paced “Battle of Poseidon” seems to be inspired by ancient Greek mythology, mixes slower verses with faster passages and a quite fetching bridge/chorus combo. Well done.
In keeping with the “naval” themes, “Pirates” feels like something that Running Wild should have done a long time ago. It certainly has a short, repetitious riff and a sing along chorus and feels like a crowd pleasing future concert classic.
“Known Better” is a pacy, mid-tempo, about a man being possessed by the devil... the vocals feel mocking and desperate, a lot more “anguished”… cool riffs and an even cooler chorus, with a cool solo thrown in there, complete the “recipe”. Yummy!
“The Race” is driven by a swift riff, but seems to be slightly worse for wear, until its chorus and a nice verse, lift it from mediocrity. It also seems to be so “bombastic” that the mix ends up being a little confusing on this one, with all instruments and the voice at times antagonizing for the focus and achieving the exact opposite.
Finally “The Legionary” a song that the band had released a much longer demo of in the past, is now a lot more compacted and to the point, which seems to benefit it greatly. Lyrical and epic in equal parts it even made me think of “Somewhere in Time” Iron Maiden, always through the prism and sound of Scanner of course. Awesome conclusion to an equally awesome album!
Unexpectedly good, but then, the band had some thirteen years to hone the songs to perfection... Scanner is a band that metal was greatly missing... No one can kill the metal, apart from the apathy of metalheads themselves... instead of awaiting for the “big names” lend some of your time, support and an ear, on awesome albums like this... you won’t regret it!