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Review: Scratching Soil - Separatism
Scratching Soil

Label: Stygian Crypt Productions
Year released: 2006
Duration: 37:10
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 3.25/5

Review online: March 30, 2008
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating

Rated 2.5/5 (50%) (2 Votes)

Forming in 1996, Russians Scratching Soil have been known to me since I picked up their 2nd album "War Experience" back in 2003. Although it was a proficient enough release, it never really gained much interest from me after a couple of listens, and was soon to be collecting dust on my CD rack. 'Separatism' however (their 3rd album), sees the band step up to a new level of technical skill, not to mention a much greater song structuring ability, which is put to good use throughout the majority of the album.

Scratching Soil play a well produced Black/Death Metal hybrid, with slightly more Black than Death in the majority of the riffs. However, this doesn't stop the band trudging through the occasional Death Metal flourishes (however, seeing the band members plastered in corpse-paint in the album booklet makes me think they would prefer to be perceived as strictly Black Metal!). There's no real sound-a-likes I can compare the album with, giving the band somewhat of a unique sound. However, the music is generally in the vein of third wave of Black Metal, with well produced trebly guitars blasting melodies at your face at a rate of knots, interweaving the odd eastern passages into the mix beside the throat tearing vocal work. The drums however leave something to be desired, coming across somewhat one-dimensional (I'm pretty certain it's a drum machine, but I'm not 100% sure - these things are getting more and more realistic by the day it seems!), never straying far from the standard rhythms associated with the riff tempos, possibly making them the low point of the album.

There are a number of bands similar to Scratching Soil which are still crawling out of the woodwork, which although have their own sound made up from what must be a huge amount of influences from all periods of Black and Death Metal history, still manage to come across somewhat faceless due to a much needed missing spark (which is strange, seeing as there are so many generic Darkthrone and Burzum clones out there, you'd think something a bit different might warrant some shades of quality). "Separatism" is certainly not a bad release per se, and it's certainly a lot better than their previous album. However, it still leaves me somewhat cold, never really managing to ignite that blue flame under my arse to get me popping the CD out of its case for another replay.

Other related information on the site
Review: Separatism (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
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