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SCARDUST

Progressive Metal • Israel


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Scardust biography
SCARDUSTt began, under the name "Somnia", in 2013 as a duo project, when the musicians Orr DIDI and Noa GRUMANn wrote a rock opera called "Gates of Dawn". The opera was arranged for a full symphony orchestra, choir, and metal ensemble. A demo was fully recorded at a home studio quality, but due to technical reasons was not yet recorded professionally and officially released. The single from the opera, "Betrayal", can be found at the Somnia's channel on YouTube.

Later on, drummer Yoav WEINBERG and bassist Yanai AVNET joined the project and Somnia turned from fantasy to reality: out of the dark basement and into the rehearsal studio of a rocking live band. Orr and Noa decided to put "Gates of Dawn" on hold until further notice, and write a new project tailored for the performing band. While writing their EP "Shadow", Orr took charge of lyrics, composition and arrangements, but did not play in the band.
In early 2014, guitarist Yadin MOYAL and keyboardist Lior GOLDBERG joined the band, as the writing of "Shadow" was completed - with each band member adding their own personal touch.

In summer 2014 the band began performing at local clubs, with a choir of four singers dressed in black hooded cloaks. In the fall of 2014 they recorded the "Shadow" EP at Cast Iron studios, and released it on February 2015.
After releasing the EP, they found out that someone else had the trademark for the name "Somnia", and they changed it to SCARDUST.

Today, the band consists of vocalist Noa GRUMAN, drummer Yoav WEINBERG, guitarist Yadin MOYAL, and bassist Yanai AVNET. The music is Power Symphonic Metal similar to EPICA, NIGHTWISH and WITHIN TEMPTATION.

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SCARDUST discography


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SCARDUST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.87 | 15 ratings
Sands of Time
2017
4.18 | 33 ratings
Strangers
2020

SCARDUST Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SCARDUST Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SCARDUST Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SCARDUST Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 4 ratings
Shadow
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mist (Acoustic Demo)
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tantibus II (Live)
2020

SCARDUST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Strangers by SCARDUST album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.18 | 33 ratings

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Strangers
Scardust Progressive Metal

Review by ssmarcus

5 stars While the previous decade or so saw the continued success of legacy progressive metal acts like Opeth, Devin Towsend's "Project", and even Dream Theater, the decade's newest entrants to the genre's highest echelons were groups whose sound was as much an offshoot of metalcore, technical death metal, and post- metal as it was of classic 70's prog mixed with 80's metal. Consider the tech-death of Between the Buried and Me, the blend of post-metal atmosphere and groove of The Ocean, and the Meshuggah-crazed djent riffage of Animals as Leaders and Periphery and you can appreciate the extent to which the last decade largely broke with and evolved the existing prog metal paradigm. Even both Haken and Leprous, the groups most closely oriented towards the classic prog metal sound, could not avoid the djent bug creeping up at various points in their discographies.

While these trends dominated the mainstream of progressive metal, a new and internationally based generation of young symphonic progressive metal acts had been and continues to formulate, mostly underground. My impression of these acts so far has been underwhelming. As I have remarked in several of my previous reviews, the kids in these groups are undoubtedly talented. But rarely are they capably of anything that transcends mere imitation. "Prog" they may be, but certainly not "progressive." Scardust's latest release, Strangers, is not only the first release from this movement that I have come across to really grab my attention, but it is also one of the best progressive metal records of the last decade, period!

The music on this record combines choir and string accompaniments with a classic prog metal band format to create a fun, heavy, colorful, and larger-than-life symphonic prog sound that is at once familiar and comforting to fans of the genre but still entirely refreshing. Guitarist Yadin Moyal has the chops of Michael Romeo but the melodic and phrasing sensibilities of Brian May ? a most devastating combo of skills. Yoav Weinberg, Aaron Friedland, and Orr Didi, the group's drummer, keyboardist, and bassist respectively, each get their moment to show off their virtuosic abilities. But they are all skilled and tasteful enough to restrain their abilities for the sake of maintaining listenability and a high level of songcraft.

Of course, no review would be complete without addressing vocalist Noa Gurman's mind-blowing performance, the indisputably stand-out element of this release. In plain terms, Noa is not merely a vocalist, but an absolute acrobat. Her unrivaled control and discipline enable her to effortlessly deliver complex moving and modulating melodies without sacrificing an ounce of power and elegance. Needless to say, Noa's performance on Strangers places her right at the top of female metal vocalists performing today.

Noa is no newbie or stranger to achieving notoriety for her abilities. In 2015, her family's band earned the title "Israel's Most Musical Family" on a popular Israeli TV contest, no easy feat if you are familiar with Israel's developed and sophisticated music culture. The band's cover of Queen's "Somebody to Love" even caught the eye of US media though, admittedly, for only a fleeting moment. Noa also performed duties as the live female vocalist for Orphaned Land, Israel's most accomplished heavy metal band, progressive or otherwise. To this day, Noa continues to be a popular vocal coach for young Israeli vocalists looking to up their game.

On a personal note, I am elated to be writing this review only a few kilometers from where Sacrdust would regularly perform (pre-Covid days). I cannot to see them live as soon as circumstances permit.

 Strangers by SCARDUST album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.18 | 33 ratings

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Strangers
Scardust Progressive Metal

Review by alvanx

5 stars

This album has blown me away. It has the emotional force and instrumental prowess of prog power metal classics like Mind's Eye's A Gentleman's Hurricane or Kamelot's The Black Halo. I'm also reminded of Seventh Wonder's Tiara and Ayreon's The Source. It is well-composed and complex but manages to be cohesive, with tight song structures and incredibly catchy choruses. The band meddles with several musical styles and somehow pull off every single one. Musicianship is top notch. The lead guitar stands out with a wonderfully melodic style akin to Seventh Wonder and of course John Petrucci. The vocals are incredible; forceful and versatile; Noa Gruman is an amazing female metal vocalist.

There are very few week points - the lyrics have been described as a little cheesy by some reviewers (I don't notice). The growling on the song Over isn't for me, but thankfully it is used sparingly. The vocalist has a noticable Israeli accent, but utlimately just sounds exotic and adds to the band's charisma. Her enunciation is clear and, either way, I can't stop listening to her incredible performance.

Top prog metal album of 2020!

 Strangers by SCARDUST album cover Studio Album, 2020
4.18 | 33 ratings

BUY
Strangers
Scardust Progressive Metal

Review by AndreiDan37

5 stars I remember when I first came across Scardust's debut album, "Sands of Time". It was one of my most surprising and exciting musical discoveries and it wasn't long before I became a fan of the band. Their debut has been a constant on my playlist and proudly stood the test of time, so when the sophomore release "Strangers" came to being, I was all over this beauty in no time. Scardust's sound on the first record felt to me like a mashup of many different influences, ranging from progressive metal classics like Dream Theater, and a remarkable Symphony X resemblance in the guitar leads to symphonic metal soundscapes akin to Nightwish or Epica. But it had something else as well, a touch of originality and a unique vibe that set it apart, a sort of fingerprint that belongs to Scardust alone, and can't be compared to anything else. And that is the element that made it special.

Looking at their newest release, many things have changed, but many stayed the same, which is the ideal recipe for a follow-up in my books. They still sound like themselves, still carry the same influences and musical building-blocks to composition, but there's been some boosting going on. I would say the band similarities have dimmed to some degree, allowing for their own spark to shine brighter. Their sound is better defined, arguably even more eclectic and develops an even stronger character. The technical and progressive aspects now take a turn for the more extreme, flashy and shocking approach, making this album as over-the-top as it gets when it comes to displaying virtuosity and complexity. But the counter-part, comprised of sweet, infectious melodies, hooky chorus lines and bouncy grooves is also enhanced, keeping the balance in check while the extremes push further.

On drums, we find a maelstrom of odd-times, syncopated patterns and tricky unpredictability that often throws you off, just to grab you back in by falling into clear double bass parts, grooves and headbang inducing drops. The level of detail on cymbals, strums and transitions, as well as the fluidity and cohesion to which the different ideas are fused together makes it an all-round engaging, creative and impressive structural backbone for the music. On bass and guitars, there's a tremendous back-and-forth between heaviness, melody and groove going on. At times, the bass lays down the chonk all on its own, leaving the guitar parts to go all flowery, through the lead melodies and eclectic riffage (see main riff in "Stranger"). Also, the guitar riffs have a sense of forward-movement and lightness of motion that allows the music to soar, while the bass often counter-balances that effect with a good dose of impact, expanding the soundscape on different levels. The keyboard parts are very diverse and complex, ranging from loud, fuzzy effects and fast runs (see keyboard theme in "Tantibus II") to softer, more delicate or atmospheric sounds (harpsichord effect in "Break the Ice") or piano sound, going even for a jazzy approach on some occasions (most notably in "Under").

Sounds like a lot? Well, that's before we even get to where the madness happens. Every member of this band puts up a ridiculous show when it comes to solos. Guitar, bass, keys and even drums will take turns in the spotlight, unleashing all they have to shock and impress, but will do so in a manner that doesn't disrupt the flow and continuity of the music. I feel that the energy Scardust aims for, is often so intense and exciting that this sort of shreddy, technical madness rather enhances their expressive value instead of diminishing it. And the players bring a lot of character on display, making their instruments come alive and speak through the sonic motions. It's not about the skill as such, but about exploiting it as much as possible to extract every ounce of energy and emotion you can from a song. And they interact a lot, alternating who takes the lead in order to create this back and forth dynamic in the lead sections that starts breathing life, as if you're seeing a cinematic scene with many simultaneously moving pieces. And that actually makes perfect sense given the "theatrical" tag they sometimes use to describe themselves. Of course, there are also the more tender moments. And I feel like all the elements used throughout the madness are equally put on display when the music slows down ("Break the Ice" and "Mist" are the best examples). We still have solos, complex time signatures and a lot of underlying technicality, but the aggression ceases, the details and melodies take hold and a story-like fantasy atmosphere emerges.

When the instruments themselves have so much vibrant energy bursting out of them, you need a vocalist that lives up to the hype, and Noa Gruman is just that. As with all the instruments, on vocals we also see a wide range of techniques being used from energetic rock/metal singing ("Concrete Cages", "Gone") to operatic moments ("Mist"), soft and cheesy emotions ("Break the Ice" and "Mist") all the way to rap screaming ("Under") death growls ("Over"). And once again, the variety is not used for the sake of technical display, but for bringing in the right flavour for each song. She brings an outstanding presence and charisma to the table, displaying a wide range of emotions so intensely and with such ease. And to top all that off, she also has a solo, on the song "Concrete Cages", which might be one of the most flamboyant and surprising tricks I've ever seen pulled off in a song.

The concept of "Strangers" refers to being estranged from one-another, from things you love or even from yourself, and this idea manifests itself in every detail of the music, from the sound textures to the composition and the structure of the album as a whole. It is built in a contrasting manner. It offers both raw sounds and super refined details. It feels both natural ("Huts", "Gone") and industrial or maybe even electronic to some extent ("Addicted", "Tanitbus II"). And apart from the first track, "Overture for the Estranged", which introduces all the main themes seen on the album in a medley approach, all other songs are built in pairs of 2, and separated in a symmetrical order between the first and second half of the album.

As mentioned previously, this album is as much symphonic as it is progressive. The classical influences in the composition are strongly noticeable and the use of a string quartet and lots of choirs also gives it the sound and feels it needs to truly stand as symphonic. The choirs especially do a fantastic job emphasizing the dramatic nature of the music, creating a sense of interaction with Noa's lead vocals, as well as with the string quartet and lead sections (most noticeable in "Addicted"). And as final touches, there is a children's choir on "Huts", giving a unique sense of brilliance and innocence to the song, and an amazing guest performance by Patty Gurdy (hurdy gurdy musician YouTuber) on "Concrete Cages". She offers both her voice and the sound of her unique instrument for the longest track on the record, making it into a truly epic piece and boosting that amazing contrast between raw and modern textures, with all the prog metal going on sounding so hi-fi and the gurdy getting folky, almost medieval in sound. At the end of it all, I can't even fathom how they crammed so many different influences, instruments and ideas in just over 50 minutes of music, especially balancing them out so well that it doesn't even feel tiresome or overdone. Everything fits in exactly where it should, putting together what is undoubtedly my album of the year for 2020!

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition.

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