CD Review

Scissorkiss – Demo EP

By Marcus Pan

ScissorkissAs if Boston hasn’t given us enough with things like Manray, Convergence II and Ceremony night, they up and throw us one more. Coming aggressively and loudly out of the Boston area is new band Scissorkiss. Just on the name alone – Scissorkiss. Say it again. Isn’t that just an awesome name? I mean really – it bespeaks of love, cuts, aggression and sex all in the combination of two words that until now you’d never think to put together. It’s this simplicity with words that make them that much more attainable and enjoyable to all.

This band consists of four people. Arian Naomi Allen is the female lead vocalist for the group and she is backed by the extremely aggressive and riff-mastering styles of Mathew Fuller and jhimm on guitars. Both of these two also have their hands in the drum programming as well. Harlan is the bassist for the group and with the guitars flailing away like they do, it seems to be his job to keep the other two from walking off an edge somewhere by maintaining a strong rhythm with the help of the drum programming. Arian, Mathew and jhimm all have their names penned to lyrics for Scissorkiss’ original material. Nearly twenty songs are written by the group – but only three appear on their first release, an untitled demo EP that just hit the streets. That’s a damn shame and totally unfair. I feel like a burning man given a vial of wet sand – it’s just not enough.

ScissorkissScissorkiss have a very original and distinctive sound. The guitars are heavy and obnoxious, flipping from riff to riff with aggressive blaring ease. It treads near the edge of control, but they don’t fall off – because then there’s Harlan, who keeps them in line with rhythmic bass lines that keep the songs from becoming battlegrounds. The guitar riffs just tear into you – it brings me back to my chaotic days. Yet Scissorkiss still provide the polished tight sound that was missing then.

Let’s talk about our beautiful front woman, Arian Naomi, for a moment. Rather than go the whole high-pitched diva thing you hear in bands like My Scarlet Life, Bel Canto or the like, Arian has a sexy and sultry alto voice. It was a refreshing change from the perky high-pitched chicks which I’ve heard a lot of lately. While I can swirl and fly with the best of the flashy girls, Arian just gets in your face with vigor and takes you by surprise. Her voice is strong, carries well and packs plenty of power.

Leave is the first track they offer, kicking off with a high-pitched feedback guitar and strong, straight-through beat track. The drums are kept minimal here so that the attention can go to the guitars and, when the lyrics come in, vocals as well. The staple riff of Leave is a strong chord progression that keeps the song loud and aggressive throughout. Another guitar joins in on occasion providing a background notation that gives the tune a jamming atmosphere. “What do you want from me?” Arian forcefully asks the demons inside. Following this track, we go into Last Day. Like Leave, the lyrics of this song are simple yet forceful, not losing itself in the swirly surreal poetic license that some bands will wander off into the forest with losing their way as they go. Reminding the world she’s still here, “I’m not dying, I’m not dead,” Arian tells you. This song has a lower, groaning sound – more bass and lower riffs. During the chorus areas, the guitars grow more intense and then, later, breakdown into a bass-laden set of box-style chord progressions with all the stamina the song began with. Finally, there’s Forgive, the final track on this first EP. This is a song of loss; “I still miss her.” The first stanza repeats itself a second time around following the chorus, which is strange because this is a common subject and one that I’m sure they could have found more lyrics for. It’s this obvious repetition that cause a bit of loss to this particular song.

Guitar-driven and bass-controlled, Scissorkiss provide a new look at old subjects. Their lyrics are simpler in makeup and somewhat repetitious, but the power in the music is what makes this group a healthy, vital and powerful addition to Boston’s, and everywhere else’s, gothic rock scene. Arian’s alto voice is a must-hear; she shrugs off the diva style and instead takes a lower pitched, and in many ways much more powerful, singing style. I stand here burning and wait with my vial of wet sand, hoping more will come soon.

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