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It shouldn’t work. Mas­sive Scar Era’s “Obliv­i­ous” blends dou­ble­kick heavy-metal drum­ming and de­tuned gui­tar riffs with soar­ing Mid­dle East­ern vi­o­lin melodies, while the vo­cals switch from bell-clear singing to a throat-clear­ing death growl.

The fact that is does work is tes­ta­ment to the fact that the globe­span­ning Mas­sive Scar Era—vi­o­lin­ist-vo­cal­ist Nancy Mounir lives in Cairo while singer-gui­tarist Cher­ine Amr and the rest of the band re­side here in Van­cou­ver—has hit upon a win­ning for­mula. Amr’s lyrics seem per­sonal to the point that fig­ur­ing out their spe­cific mean­ing is prob­a­bly an ex­er­cise in fu­til­ity.

She sure as hell de­liv­ers ev­ery word with ab­so­lute con­vic­tion, though, sound­ing at times like an Egyp­tian Amy Lee. “Fool, I’ll be no more,” she sings on the es­pe­cially Evanes­cence-es­que “Color Blind”, “Stretch my arms and find my de­sire/there is no life of de­nial/if it would end, I’ll take you down, take you down with me.” Mas­sive Scar Era (or “Mas­cara”, to those in the know) plays shows around town fairly reg­u­larly, but this month the band will be out on the road, per­form­ing in such ex­otic lo­cales as Sud­bury and Leth­bridge. Hey, not ev­ery gig can take place at the Li­brary of Alexan­dria, you know.

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