Scissorfight – Jaggernaut – Review


Jaggernaut (Tortuga Recordings)
by Brian Varney

After years of delays involving exploding master tapes, hard drive malfunctions, incarcerations, and advanced graduate degrees, Scissorfight is back with a brand new sound. Well, I guess that’s overstating the case a bit. This is still identifiable as Scissorfight, and random moments within hearken back to the glory days of New Hampshire and Piscataqua (whose two original tracks, “Outmotherfucker the Man” and “Shewolf,” remain the band’s crowning achievements), but this is a very different-sounding band.

The change is most obvious in the vocals. The vocals themselves seem to be recorded with more care this time around – there are multiple tracks overdubbed, some tentative attempts at harmonies, and Ironlung seems to be making a valiant attempt at actual singing. I’ve heard rumor that this change in vocal style is an attempt to end the damage being done to his throat by his old vocal style, which consisted mostly of ominous non-metal growling and yelling. I can understand his desire to save his voice and all, but I miss the days when a listen to an Ironlung vocal performance put the listener in mind of a bear dressed in human clothes and strategically shaved.

There are still moments of triumph to be had on Jaggernaut such as “Backwoods” and the title track, where massive descending riffs lumber through a downtuned field of sediment and a highly syncopated rhythm section spins its wheels in said sediment as Ironlung bellows about death and sex and liquor.