In an attempt to give their audience that coveted “ear-ringing” experience, extreme metal supergroup Scour joined the virtual concert bandwagon to kickoff 2021. Fresh off their latest release, The Black EP, Scour delivered a high-energy, cohesive performance to their dedicated niche following. What made the concert more entertaining was Scour’s genuine interest in connecting with their fans throughout the stream. While their music might be more fitting for a rowdy night out rather than a relaxing night in, Scour’s success was evident in the live chat’s response: “This is making me miss the mosh pits!”
The opening band, Shock Narcotic, set the mood for the night. The Detroit-based metal group wasted no time before bursting into grindcore. Lead vocalist Shawn Knight (Child Bite) rolled his eyes back into his head and screamed into the microphone with passion and angst. As difficult as it was to discern his distorted words, lyrics such as “I can’t live with what I’ve done” made for a hard-hitting chorus. Don Slater (Battlecross) shined on the bass, with loud thumping ascending bass lines that contrasted elegantly against Jeff Tuttle’s (ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan) meaty, downward chromatic guitar riffs. Zach Gibson (Shit Life, ex-The Black Dahlia Murder) was authoritative on the drums, jumping between quick double time and half time beats with ease. The camerawork was excellent, panning back and forth between the members while a light show of strobes echoed the music, and playing in a dimly lit warehouse matched their sinister sound.
After Shock Narcotic finished their opening set, Scour began their show (part concert, part short film) with each band member standing around a fire. Despite the ominous scene, the band introduced themselves through a series of shared stories and cracked jokes, allowing for lighthearted undertones of goofiness and camaraderie. The interactions between concert-goers were friendly. According to the chat, lead vocalist Phil Anselmo “is a super nice guy” and always willing to talk with fans. As the start of the concert approached, fans on the live stream’s chat “sparked up their finest crack” in preparation for their ears to burst.
Tightly crammed together in a blood red-tinted studio, Scour erupted into their genre-bending black metal set. The first track, “Dispatched,” began super upbeat. Drummer Adam Jarvis carried the tune with fast-paced, chugging kicks and toms, while guitarist Derek Engemann ripped through riffs, switching between major and minor keys effortlessly. To keep up with the song’s upbeat nature, Mark Kloeppel wielded a black, pointy guitar with an oscillating effect resembling that of The Black Eyed Peas’ “Pump It.” Scour’s incorporation of punk-influenced guitar sounds into their otherwise thrash-like style is subtle.
“Red” began like any other stereotypical grindcore track, with loud, fast kicks and bass, but ventured into new territory with occasional switches toward a more simple rock beat. John Jarvis’ bass line was commanding and full of grit. The mildly confusing rhythmic changes culminated in a blast of static-filled noise, featuring Anselmo screaming “BLEH!” into his microphone alongside harmonically dissonant tritone-filled guitar riffs.
In a short intermission, the scene cut to the band members in the forest taking turns swinging an ax to a tree stump for firewood, as mysterious organs played a theme fit for a horror movie. As violent as the backdrop was, Anselmo joined the live chat to converse with audience members who were eager to interact with him. One user, SatanicHotSauce, even managed to promote his homemade hot sauce, and Anselmo responded that he would have to try it sometime.
After a few minutes, Scour continued with “Piles.” Beginning with a thunderous roar on vocals, the song emerged into chaos, although one cleaner lead electric guitar stood out conspicuously. While the drums and bass kept booming, Kloeppel and Engemann broke out into a harmonic video-game-like guitar duet reminiscent of the retro Super Smash Bros. franchise. The dueling guitarists looked like they were having fun.
Another highlight was their most popular track “Doom,” which began with a deafening siren followed by an impossibly fast drum beat and a thick, oscillating lead guitar that played a catchy riff full with minor third intervals. The guitar line’s gradual microtonal shifts in pitch made it a distinct, haunting melody. Jarvis’ masterful, epic drum fills combined with Anselmo’s zombielike vocal distortion completed the grindcore sound, which lived up to its “extreme metal” description.
Scour’s last song, “Subprime,” was the most lyrically subversive, with nods toward the current climate surrounding the Covid pandemic. People in the chat were able to make out the phrases, “Microbes propagate illogic/ Galactic veracity flexion/ Pits sprawl the planet/ Connect the dots proliferate/ Neurosurgeons from the Order of Plague.” While these words might take on a different meaning for the listeners high on meth, linking them as a reference to the COVID-19 virus’ sinister nature seems fitting.
In the final cut, the members of Scour once again sat around a campfire, laughing and sharing stories. Meanwhile, positive comments flowed in the chat such as “THAT KICKED ASS,” or “My ears are dead, I’m satisfied.” After two hours of blaring noises and dissonant melodies, it was difficult to leave the stream without numb ears. However, considering that nearly burst eardrums is key to Scour’s shtick, their performance was undoubtedly a success.