Band – A Scent Like Wolves
Album – Mystic Auras
Country of Origin – USA
Genre – Metalcore
Release Date – 19 Feb 2021
Label – We Are Triumphant
Author – Bret Casey
Why do we attribute high school grade names to albums? Is it to imply that artists haven’t graduated to being a professional until album 5? Who came up with this? The world may never know.
Mystic Auras is A Scent Like Wolves’ junior album and much like a high school student, they are exhibiting growth and deeper knowledge of their art form. Although my deep dive into their past works was brief it was clear that the songwriting and performance have steadily improved throughout their career.
The music and dual vocals of Mystic Auras manage to bridge the gap between atmospheric and technical, giving the music both emotional weight and dynamic energy.
JT Cavey (ERRA), Booka Nile (MAKE THEM SUFFER), Brian Wille (CURRENTS), and Mattéo Gelsomino (NOVELISTS) all make guest appearances on the album and add their unique personal touches to the songs they appear in giving the album added flavor.
I honestly can’t pick a favorite track musically because the whole album is very consistent. But lyrically, I will say the most memorable song is Telephone because even though it might seem like a standard “I miss her” song, it forgoes the cliché “blame game” or “she was a goddess and didn’t realize” lyrics of their contemporaries. Instead, the lyrics are realistically grounded with the protagonist admitting both of their immaturities got in the way, learning from his mistakes, forgiving her, and vowing he will be a phone call away if she ever needs him (the lyrics are open to a few varied interpretations, you might draw a different conclusion). Compared to all the cliché bitching, moaning, and depression of the metalcore and emo of the 2000s and 2010s, this mature approach is a breath of fresh air.
BUT, Mystic Auras is a concept album and the lyrics in the songs after Telephone (track 3) become progressively darker culminating in the protagonist’s implied suicide or death by broken heart in the final track Aquamarine. This might seem cliche to some, but the protagonist’s slow descent into depression is captured intricately track by track, and anyone who has struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts will find the feelings expressed are realistically captured. The swapping of clean/screamed vocals and atmospheric/heavy music captures the emotional rollercoaster of life accurately makes the whole package complete.
NOTE: this is my interpretation of the lyrics and results may vary for others.
I’ll be honest, I kind of dismissed this album as “one of those emo albums” on my first listen, but on repeated listens I pulled back the subtle layers and have a feeling there are more to peel back in future listens. At a compact 30 minutes long it is an easy drive into the journey of a struggling mind that doesn’t wear out its welcome by being long and overdramatic.
Overall, this is a strong album if you’re willing to take the time to peel back the layers, see the full picture, and draw your own inspiration from it. I recommend you give this a listen if your curiosity is sparked.
Biography: Hi, I’m a music enthusiast from Maine USA with ties to the death metal and punk communities. When I’m not reviewing music I’m spending time with my wife and kids or gaming with my friends and family. I just started 2 YouTube channels dedicated to gaming and music.
Come watch me play and review Xbox games as MistahKC207 Gaming: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMctEEJu13cB2gXNRZzmhJQ
Or watch my 30-second album review shorts and music industry ponderings as The Scratched Record: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt79OV0EELspfkKjB7EbjfA
I’m currently in the process of channel artwork for The Scratched Record and content writing/editing for MistahKC207 Gaming so depending on how soon this is published channel(s) might still be empty and these are free time projects.