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Scour - Scour EP (Album Review)

Wednesday, 20 July 2016 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Let’s start where we need to start. Philip H. Anselmo’s actions last winter, when he yelled “white power” from the stage at Dimebash, were wrong. This EP, by the black metal supergroup Scour, is the former Pantera vocalist’s first musical statement since that day. For now, we’re here to judge the music. That’s why you’re here too, right? Because you live, breathe, eat and shit heavy metal.

And Scour’s debut EP delivers heavy metal by the truckload. No, scrap that. They’re filling cruise ships with heavy metal. Jumbo jets. Freight trains. Small continents. Anselmo is behind the mic, with John Jarvis of Pig Destroyer and Agoraphobic Nosebleed on bass, Cattle Decapitation’s Derek Engemann and Decrepit Birth’s Chase Fraser manning the axes and Jesse Schobel of Strong Intention and Cast The Stone thumping the tubs. Take your #SquadGoals and shove ‘em.

This EP is raw. Clocking in at under 15 minutes, it rips through a brief history of extreme metal with expert precision. Dispatched could be a Cattle Decapitation or Nile song with black metal overtones, utilising the former’s foray into the genre with last year’s ‘The Anthropocene Extinction’ to superb effect. Its tremolo-picked, certified-by-Satan evil is emphasised further when the riff drops to half-time and Schobel’s drums are shoved to the fore, becoming god-sized.

Musically, Scour are the sum of their parts and then some. Crooked and Tear Gas’s frosty riffing and compact cymbal hits are second wave of black metal worship, while the latter’s guitar solo and “Let the war be waged” gang vocal is a tip of the cap to modern, vibrant American death metal like the Black Dahlia Murder.

The EP’s pace is a total nod to grindcore and the industrial, while the spooky instrumental Tactics could easily be a restrained, less hammy Cradle Of Filth interlude. Anselmo is a horror nerd, so having it shoehorned in not only gives the listener a chance to reassemble their face, but also injects the frontman’s passion and personality into the project.

And let’s get onto Anselmo’s vocals. This ain’t Pantera. This is him realising the vision he tried to capture with Viking Skull all those years ago. His guttural roar could give Morbid Angel's David Vincent a run for his money, the flesh-tearing highs will turn paint into piss and those trademark, hoarse roars are further developed from his time in the Illegals. Codes even uses a Tom G. Warrior “Eurgh!” to great effect.

If there’s one criticism, it’s that some of the songs are a little formulaic. There are a lot of isolated guitar lines leading into the whole band assaulting the listener and a lot one instrument going into half or double time to accentuate heaviness. ‘tis but a minor observation, though. This EP is Morbid Angel and Obituary wrestling, with Mayhem and Napalm Death watching from the sidelines with their younger buddies. If this is what Scour can knock out in their spare time, imagine what they can accomplish through a full-length? The world shivers with antici…pation.

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