Scalper: Flesh and Bones (Border)

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Scalper: Treacherous Disciple
Scalper: Flesh and Bones (Border)

Scalper is Nadeem Shafi who was previously a vocalist in the exciting London mutli-culti hip-hop (and beyond) outfit Fun-Da-Mental.

These days he lives in New Zealand but little of the rather more benign South Pacific atmosphere intrudes on this dark, brooding and menacing mood-piece where his up-close and urgently delivered vocals speak of a spiritual fog, the horrors of war, bloodshed, fallen demons, fires of hell, betrayal . . .

This in places comes off like the Book of Revelations pulled through newsreels of Middle East conflict and the nightmares that would ensue.

While this would not be to everyone's taste it is, because of the consistency of tone and vision, quite gripping and Scalper's lyrics drag you in -- and down. But it also has an oddly cathartic effect and it is not so much menacing as conjuring up of a disconcerting state of mind.

The political and spiritual subtexts throughout are evident, and it will be interesting to hear what he comes up with if he chooses to reflect on his new homeland with the voice of "an outsider". My guess is it will be challenging ... and important.

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