SCENTERIA 'Art Of Aggression' New Aeon Media (2004)
It is not a secret that the Swedes are obsessed with Slayer- who isnít at the end of the day? What I cannot understand, though, is the negative reaction of the music press, every time they have to deal with an album that sounds like the "Art of Aggression", the debut album of a Swedish quartet called Scenteria.
This band was formed by Stefan Persson (vocals, guitar) and Niklas Pettersson (guitar), two musicians that have shared the same vision many times in the past. In mid 2002, they joined forces with Johan Andreasson (bass), and Daniel Landin (drums) and with a steady rhythm section at hand, they began building the foundations of Scenteria.
The first demo of the band, "Signs of Hypnotica", was recorded at the bandís home studio, and, by their own admission, the result was quite satisfying. That demo was not meant to give Scenteria their ticket to the music world, though. Before the end of the same year, the band entered the Slaughterhouse Studio, and this time they created a more professional effort, a 4-track demo called "Descent of Darkness". Again the record labels chose not to invest in Scenteria. The young Swedes were stubborn enough to release a third demo, "Path of Silence", which they once again distributed to the labels with the hope of achieving a contract. This time the band received a couple of interesting offers, the one from New Aeon Media being the most interesting of them all. The band was signed in the beginning of 2004, and the first product of this collaboration "Art of Aggression" is now in my hands.
Once again, the reviews I read on the Internet were mixed - half of them were extremely positive, and others were the exact opposite. I strongly believe that you need to judge an album like the "Art of Aggression" for what it is, and thatís a thirty nine minute album full of Slayer-influenced riffs and plenty of melodic guitar parts that will impress many of the fans of the so-called Modern Thrash Metal scene. This is what the Swedes are hooked on at the moment, and this is what people like to hear nowadays. I will not spend my time trying to persuade people why itís not important whether the band sounds like The Haunted or not, or whether theyíre just one more band thatís trying to imitate the Swedish Grammy Award nominees. Even if you try to compare them, you will see that Scenteria are by far a more melodic band, and the only thing that they have in common apart from the sound (they both come from the same country, and that makes it totally understandable) is the Slayer-influenced guitar work. I am really happy that modern Metal bands like Scenteria pay more attention to their work.
The production that the Swedes have achieved is clean and strong, the absolute must have for every band that chooses to serve this specific branch of Metal. As for the compositions: I believe that "Acts of Lunacy", "Infected War" (my personal favourite), "Addicted" and "Reign of Hate" are the best songs of the album, without implying that the rest of the compositions are not worth mentioning. I am not trying to say that Scenteria have created the most original album in recent Metal history (how many bands have you heard recently that have managed to do exactly that?). On the other hand, Iím not willing to crucify a young and quite promising band that managed to create such a professionally made debut album like the "Art of Aggression". The one thing that I expect from them is to release more personal efforts in the near future Ė for the time being, I believe that it is more than fair to give them these four starsÖ
Review by John Stefanis