Scapegoat – Detroit, MI

ScapeGoat see themselves standing out among the Michigan—and really, Midwestern—music scene with their odd, balanced-but-varied combination of elements ranging from post-rock and progressive metal to deathcore, groove and specklings from everything in between. The core of the band is percussionist Thomas Mansell, whose work on The Afterthought is just as bouncy and booming as it was on Oddball. His patterns and flashy fills on lead single “Compromised” is immense and entertaining both—while his versatility on “Sugar Cuba” or “The Afterthought” is commendable and creative. Mansell uses everything from lacerating blasts (“Changing of the Seasons” and “No Guilt”) to bouncy, fun sounding footwork (“Compromised”) to ethereality and subtlety (“Vessel”) and just about everything in between, working with bassist Danny Castranova to create a sprawling foundation for the band to work from. While Castranova might not be an over-the-top, notice me! Type of bassist, his work is crucial to making sure The Afterthought flows are excellently as humanly possible. Whether it’s “Changing of the Seasons” or “Sugar Cuba,” his work gives thickness and intent to Mansell’s percussion, all while giving a base for guitarists Mitch Nicholas and Anthony Michael to craft crushing, beautiful anthems from. Nicholas and Michael are magnificent and the truest manifestation of Scapegoat’s amalgam of progressive and punishing elements. Songs like “Compromised” are go-for-the-throat heavy and purely pissed, but “Sugar Cuba” is a sinister combination of the band at their heaviest and at their most well-thought out, with structure a plenty that doesn’t interfere with Nicholas and Michael’s ability to put parts of themselves into every note they play. All in all, the group function as a well oiled machine—but make no mistake—they’re as far from machine as you can get, with the infernal intensity and poignant, penetrating and pervasive bitterness giving The Afterthought a very carnal and human edge.