Scavenger - Official Website

Beyond The Bells

Belgium Country of Origin: Belgium

1. The Warning Bell
2. Black Witchery
3. Watchout!
4. Streetfighter
5. Defiler
6. Hellfire
7. Slave To The Master
8. Nosferatu
9. Crystal Light
10. Backslider
11. Red Hot

Review by Vladimir on May 14, 2024.

Do you like heavy metal? Do you want to wander in the dark to cast spells on a cold and misty night? Well then, you have come to the right place. The Belgian heavy metal band Scavenger, whom you may be familiar with thanks to their 1985 debut album Battlefields with that uncanny drawn dystopian warrior cover art, have finally returned with a brand new release. Despite only one original member in the band left, with the rest being mostly new blood and fresh steel, the band's saga continues with their second full-length Beyond The Bells, released on March 22nd, 2024 via No Remorse Records. Can this album be considered as a nice comeback? Let's find out...

The album opens up with an ambient intro track 'The Warning Bell', slowly building up the anticipation towards the spectacle with synthesizers and clean guitars, when all of a sudden the crescendo of drums, guitar melodies and the church bells comes down on you to kick off into action. Without a moment to waste, the second track 'Black Witchery' strikes with its full-throttle heavy metal, preparing you for this grand and thrilling blockbuster. If the energy was not crazy enough from the beginning, the third track 'Watchout!' is truly where the fun begins, coming at you like a speeding bullet and hitting hard like a hammer on the anvil, thanks to its badass heavy riffs, superb melodies, catchy chorus and relentless drumming. A nice addition to the album's tracklist is the fourth track 'Streetfighter', which is obviously about the cult classic video game franchise Street Fighter, and it even includes the "Ready? FIGHT!" sound effect for good measure, though I must admit that I was a bit disappointed to have not heard "HADOUKEN!" as well. Jokes aside, this was a fun inclusion on the album that really made me smile, plus it's an incredibly catchy track. It's not all about speed though, because we have a couple of slower moments with examples such as 'Hellfire', going for a more straightforward hard-rocking approach, while still maintaining the vibe of the album without straying too far from its course. Along the way, we also got a couple of fine tracks, especially 'Nosferatu', keeping it heavy and steady towards the very end with 'Crystal Light', a nice and powerful headbanger which successfully concludes this awesome journey.

The album is overall simplistic and standard with its catchy and melodic heavy metal songwriting, yet still successful in its execution to deliver power and action. Although I enjoyed this album's overall output for the better part, I felt like the songwriting became a bit more formulaic and predictable somewhere around the second half of the album. Some of the songs are exceptional and more attention-worthy, no doubt about that, but some of them are also a bit too similar in style, making them less interesting due to overall familiarity. Despite this issue, that doesn't mean that these songs are not enjoyable or worth listening to, because they still deliver the goods from start to finish no matter what. If anything, I'd say that it at least contributes to the stylistic consistency of the entire album, maintaining the even flow of heaviness and entertainment. Another nice thing worth mentioning is the beautiful retro style album cover, designed by the colombian artist Luisa Agudelo aka Subhuman Being, whose work I've been very fond of since Enforcer's two singles "Kiss Of Death" and "At The End Of The Rainbow", and she perfectly captured that heavy metal essence of Scavenger with its nocturnal and mystical approach.

In the end, even though Beyond The Bells may seem just like another heavy metal release added to the NWOTHM roster of albums, it's still a very nice thrill-ride that a crazed oldschool maniac can enjoy for what it is. Bands like Scavenger obviously have no intention of reinventing the wheel, but instead to keep the wheel spinning harder and faster as much as they can, without pulling back and without sacrificing anything. Their overall output is very simple and straightforward, but still on point, giving you exactly what you'd expect from a wild heavy metal album.

Rating: 8.4 out of 10