Album Review: Scarab – Martyrs of the Storm

Scarab - Martyrs of the Storm

Album Review: Scarab - Martyrs of the Storm
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

It was Egyptian band Crescent whose 2019 Bloodstock performance alerted me to the plethora of death metal outfits from that part of the world. Formed in 2006, Scarab are another outfit and originate from Cairo/Giza. The band has two previous long players under their belt, the last being the 2015 ‘Serpents of the Nile’. Those who indulged in the Brendan Fraser/Rachel Wiesz ‘The Mummy’ franchise will remember the moronic Benny being devoured by Scarab beetles at the end of the first movie. Sacred as a result of their association with the sun god Raa, Scarabs were used to replace the heart of the dead during mummification, the ancient Egyptians believing that it would help with the rebirth of an afterlife. Okay, lesson over, what do we make of the Egyptian’s latest release, ‘Martyrs of the Storm’?

Scarab - Martyrs of the Storm

The lyrical themes are mainly about survival and the struggle of the chaotic human nature; Spirituality, and philosophies inspired by Ancient Egypt and the world's collective mystical wisdom. Having honed their skills over the past decade and a half with numerous festivals and live shows, the band flex their muscles immediately with the explosive title track. Vocalist Sammy Sayed’s definitive guttural roar is matched by the powerhouse drumming of Amir El-Saidi, who along with bassist Ahmed Abdel Samad is making his recording debut. It’s a punishing opening at over seven minutes in length but with enough to immediately prick the interest. The crushing ‘Kingdoms of Chaos’ follows a similar pattern, driving drums, slicing razor sharp riffs and a grindingly heavy approach. The interplay between drummer and bassist is intense but no less heavy on the slower but epically constructed ‘Blood Moon Shadows’, which despite its initial slower pace quickly accelerates into a full blast beat epidemic, chugging guitars propelled by the insane blast beats.

The quality continues with the sharp structured ‘Circles of Verminejya’, another heads down bludgeoning assault, enhanced by some subtle atmospheric keyboards which add depth. ‘The Dwellers Beneath’ begins with a haunting narrative, the tension building before Scarab unleash another battering, razor sharp guitar breaks leaping from the maelstrom. Whilst Scarab stick to a traditional formula, there is also variety with full frontal aural attack on the likes of ‘Oblivious Sanctum’ contrasting with the oriental flavour of ‘Coffin Texts’, which retains the blast beats and gruff vocals. The album rarely slows or loses energy, and even as we arrive at penultimate track ‘Saturian’, Scarab find new sources of power to unleash another monster. The album closes with the impressive ‘Upon the Pagan Lands’, which once more builds quickly into a behemoth of a song. Scarab hold a combination of different musical tastes which is evident in the fusion of styles which is blended into a furious brute of a release. If you enjoy your death metal, this album should be an immediate addition to the playlist.


Scarab release 'Martyrs of the Storm' via Black Lodge on 6th March

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