Scelestus is the brainchild of ex-Mushroomhead singer J Mann and his former bandmate/current Mushroomhead drummer Steve "Skinny" Felton (who did double duty here, serving as producer as well as skinsman). Joined by guitarist Tommy Church of the Autumn Offering, they make their intentions known with this self-titled debut EP, a 4-song collection of ferocious screams, skittering drums, and burly riffage.
Everything on Scelestus is finely tuned and heavy hitting, from opener "Everything We Hold," which channels early Sepultura with its tribal intro and roared chorus, to third track "Damn The Deceiver," which evokes the ever-experimental Mushroomhead with its flamenco-esque acoustic-guitar bridge amid an otherwise thrashy song.
In fact, the biggest failing of Scelestus is simply that, at 4 songs in 25 minutes, it feels like it's over before it has even really started. The last song on here, "Token," is also the fastest (the track strongly suggests Lamb of God), and as the pace picks up, it leads the listener to feel as if the music in general is building—and then it all ends abruptly.
To its credit then, Scelestus leaves the listener wanting more—and it's hard not to believe that a full-length will soon follow. Until then, consider this EP a tantalizing tease. SARAH B. KOENIG