Scapegoat - Zombie Dog (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Zombie Dog (2008)

Tragic Hero / EastWest

"Screamo" is my generation's hair metal. Both genres favor being over-the-top in all areas, from big hairstyles to melodramatic lyrics about the ladies. Of course, Poison was more into banging the babes than bemoaning their crimson lips turned to blood and blah blah blah, but you get my point. Oh, and of course there's the music: Screamo and hair metal are all about neutered riffage that somehow never rocks. Ever.

A glimpse at new band Scapegoat's MySpace might lead one to believe they're a straight power-metal band, but rest assured, they're no Dragonforce. Granted, they incorporate tons of metal riffage and double-bass beats, and frontman Kit Waters has got that soaring metal falsetto schtick down pat. But it's the band's mixture of clean vocals and abrasive grunts over bad breakdowns that recalls more of a screaming emotional hardcore vibe (Will our children create a dumber genre name? Will I find the strength to forgive them?). Scapegoat walks the shit-smeared line between Children of Bodom and Emanuel.

Scapegoat's new record, Zombie Dog, aims for a cool concept -- zombies, brah -- but ultimately fails even harder for trying. The lesson to screamo bands: Never try. There's really no way for Scapegoat to get all of their cards into play properly. The tunes that rely heavily on the clean/scream dynamic, like opening number "Zombies," smack of genre cliché. Adding a breakdown about how the singer's shotgun goes boom (Sample lyric: "Boom / Boom / Boom") sounds funny on paper, but it's excruciating on the ears. But when Scapegoat steers towards a more pop-metal style, like on "Criminal," the songs collapse under the weight of their own cheese.

Ultimately, Scapegoat is a band meant for another time. If Zombie Dog came out in 1982 or 2002, I'm sure it would have garnered rave reviews from folks. But in 2008, there's just no use for one more band of this caliber. If hair metal is shit and screamo is bile, then Scapegoat is the unholy abomination that exits your body the morning after a night of binge drinking.