Yelling out, “Fire in the hole” right before “Clearing the Slate” erupts into all-out war Marco Aro – he of the flamethrower vocals – has sufficiently warned all who enter Scars, the debut full-length album cut by Swedish death-metal butchers The Resistance, that they do so at their own risk. Their lawyers might make everyone sign a waiver as well, because the brute-force intensity of Scars isn’t good for anybody with a heart condition.

Seething with white-hot rage, The Resistance’s fire-starter gives Hatebreed’s Divinity of Purpose a run for its money as 2013’s fiercest metal-core conflagration. Made up of ex-In Flames guitarists Jesper Stromblad and Glenn Ljungstrom, drummer Chris Barkensjo (formerly of Kaamos and Repugnant) and Facedown’s growling Aro, the one-time vocalist for The Haunted, The Resistance traffics in blistering speed, tight hooks, crunching riffs, bullet-proof production and frenzied dynamics on Scars.

Smashing through the door like a renegade swat team, “Clearing the Slate” and “Your Demise” are fast and furious attacks that leave no survivors, and “To the Death” – lasting only 1:25 – is even more frantic, the battling elements of double kick-drum beatings and Aro’s guttural bellow lending a black urgency to a hard-hitting song that beckons and gurgles for last rites. And just when it seems that The Resistance is ready to go heavy and slow things down on “Expand the Empire,” as they do in the track’s menacing intro, they suddenly fire up the engine and open the throttle again to see what this clean-running machine can really do.

Surgical in its precision and shockingly brutal, Scars has more going for it than raw horsepower and violent lyrics. There’s not a wasted note on the record, and there’s nothing uncertain or hesitant about how The Resistance goes about their business. It’s not often that they change tempos, but when they do, the sleight of hand is almost imperceptible – except in the case of the epic, if somewhat heavy-handed, closer “(I Will) Die Alone,” the most melodic and emotionally affecting of Scars’ infernos. Even when “Warmonger” and “Eye for an Eye” – maybe the weightiest songs on Scars – downshift into more of a prowling tempo and stalking movements, there are reasons for doing so. They are setting you up for the kill, which comes quickly in the overdriven title track, continuing the relentless ferocity that threatens to consume Scars.

Influenced by Entombed, Dismember and Grave, Scars is the aural equivalent of sticking your head in a blast furnace at full heat. On the blood-red cover is a collection of skulls. Those are probably the skeletal remains of those who couldn’t handle the extreme nature of The Resistance’s sonic onslaught.

Label: Armoury Records