Scissorfight - Potential New Agent for Unconventional Warfare (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Potential New Agent for Unconventional Warfare (2002)


You want rock? You want dirty, snarling, brutal rock and roll? Then I present you with "Potential New Agent for Unconventional Warfare", the seventh offering from New Hampshire's own Scissorfight, and in less than twenty minutes (unfortunately an EP) I can make a believer out of you, brothrs and sistrs. The days of great guitar riffs, acrobatic vocal growls, and rock that keeps you on your toes have not been forgotten, they've just been under the careful watch of Jarvis, Geezum H. Crow, Ironlung, and Kevin J. Strongbow, respectively. The encyclopedia of guitar hooks has been studied, broken down, and rebuilt into five songs that tear through every pretty-boy rocker on MTV. Elements of 70's flare, Kim Thayil's riffing, Bonham-sized drumming, and hard-as-nails growling are twisted and turned in ways that not only conjure up what it is that makes rock great, but defines Scissorfight as a unique group of musicians that are truly "in it" for the music. This is a band that is proud of its rock and roll heritage, musicians who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and talk the talk. Armed with an approach to music that is innovative instead of imitative, Scissorfight is keeping it real for those that have forgotten the sweet taste of a power chord to the teeth.

"Potential New Agent for Unconventional Warfare" is ready at the word go, jumping immediately into the pounding "Hex", which aside from it's mere two minutes is full of enough corrosive guitar, frenzied drumming, and possessed screaming to satisfy anyone who has missed the danger of rock and roll. Every song on this EP is extremely tight with crisp production that sheds light on every guitar harmony and snare hit, adding professionalism and charm that is rare in underground music. Even though most of the lyrics on this record are incoherent, I can't help but think that the same care and expertise spent on the instrumentalists also went into the words, no matter how obscure the song titles are. But I feel that this is part of the show, part of the charm, and thankfully no inner turmoil or melancholy is being expressed.

The songs on this record are given life by vocalist Ironlung, who takes on several different characters as he sings each song, adjusting his voice and melody to what is appropriate for the music, which not only showcases his talent, but also makes each song a fresh experience which has been deliberately executed and intelligently thought out. On "Riverhorse" Ironlung keeps his voice low and flat as his band mates back him up in harmony on the chorus singing, "Blood on the road/And the road is on fire" in a serious tone that implies a joke one isn't supposed to laugh at. "Running the Risk of Raining Buffalo" is a dark interpretation of surf rock stylings, pushing forward as Geezum H. Crow's guitars dance around Kevin J. Strongbow's excellent drumming, all the while Ironlung screams indiscernible lyrics; a madman with a message that must be relayed. To complete the talent of this quartet, bass player Jarvis exhibits admirable patience, precision, and thump on "Harvester", linking the drums and guitar seamlessly. Unfortunately, this is an EP, and five songs is a nasty teaser especially considering the fact that almost eight minutes out of twenty-two are wasted on one of the band members trying to speak German while being constantly corrected. This is not only unnecessary, but also insulting to me as the audience. Curious, confusing, and not terribly funny, the secret track ruins the repeat function designed for records such as this.

This release is the first for the boys of Scissorfight after a brief period of dormancy, and I can only hope they have more material to offer, for if this EP is any indication of where the journey is headed, it's sure to be an interesting ride. The history of rock and roll has never sounded so fresh nor the future sounded so good.