“We’re gonna fuck this shit up right now,” says a voice at the beginning of Scissorfight’s Jaggernaut. Most likely spoken by one of the band’s members, it’s a more than appropriate that this statement begins one of the most brutal, punishing albums of the year, thus warning, if not necessarily preparing the listener for something beyond loud, beyond heavy and beyond rock `n’ roll. Finding the right genre to label Scissorfight with seems arbitrary, as, in the long run, they’re really just a highly amped and rowdy rock `n’ roll band. They’re not metal, they’re not hardcore, they’re not doom, death, or art, this is American rock, brother.
Jaggernaut, for as heavy and as burly as it is, is actually quite a catchy listen. There’s some shouting, there are some dropped-D tunings. There are some riffs that scream “metal,” more than anything else, but when you hear vocalist Ironlung (yeah, that’s his name, badass huh?), the notion of these gents being in the same boat as Megadeth or Slayer just doesn’t seem quite right. As their press release states, they’ve been compared to AC/DC, Big Black and Drive Like Jehu, and to some degree, all of those comparisons hold weight, but mostly because all of those bands share a common bond in extreme volume. Without it, Scissorfight merely wouldn’t be. Yet, the New Hampshire group can write more than a halfway decent song, which makes them stand out above their more menacing Hydra Head brethren.
Song titles here run the gamut from “Victory Over Horseshit” to “Funhouse Skull,” “Metal Mother” to “Mange.” That should give you some idea of the level of sleaze, suffice to say which outdoes just about any other band East of the Mississip’. When Ironlung (who has been known to use those lungs to amass unheard of levels of illegal substances) takes the mic, it’s mostly about kickin’ ass, beckons for others to kiss his, and, you know, just being a bad motherfucker in general. It ain’t rocket science, and if it was, you can bet that Scissorfight wouldn’t be doing it. Still, there are odd little curiosities, like the mandolin in “Appalachian Chain,” that add to the band’s uniqueness. When it really comes down to it, though, Scissorfight are a ROCK band, and that’s all you need to know.
Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R
Giraffes – Giraffes
Killdozer – God Hears the Pleas of the Innocent
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.