Bitterly fast and crushing third installment for Scour’s trilogy of EPs
Although they certainly don’t overstay their welcome, Scour still manages to pack one hell of a punch throughout the course of six songs on the blistering Black EP (2020). Despite the EP’s brevity, lasting only 16 minutes, Scour showcases many things; particularly, their complete dedication to the craft. Considering it’s not even a full-length release, that most of the musicians are well into their late 40s and 50s and that the band are far more well-known for their other projects, the amount of time and energy on this project in impressive.
Yes, Scour is technically a supergroup, comprised of legendary ex-Pantera and Down vocalist Phil Anselmo, his former The Illegals bandmate Derek Engemann, Mark Kloeppel from death-grind heroes Mixery Index, as well as John Jarvis (Agoraphobic Nosebleed) and his cousin, Adam Jarvis (Pig Destroyer). That’s not even mentioning the all-star features on the very first track, which showcases the one and only Jason Momoa (of Game of Thrones fame) on guttural vocals (I know, right?), and Morbid Angel’s Erik Rutan on guitar.
On the opening track “Doom,” after a cliche but appropriate siren sample intro, Scour demonstrate their purely venomous, savage nature that is outlined by some viciously fast guitar tremolo picking and insanely impressive drum playing. The band then goes right into “Nail,” one of the more definitive ‘trve kvlt’ black metal songs, with its eerie second-half melding hauntingly reverberated, trem-picked guitar leads and blast beats together with some particularly nasty gutturals from Anselmo, sharing similarities to Full of Hell’s Dylan Walker.
“Propaganda” and “Flames,” which showcases Pat O’Brien (Cannibal Corpse), follow in similar footsteps of unrelentingly speedy deathgrind passages, on top of nailing in Scour’s interesting but not uncommon use of double-tracked vocals, chugging riffs and rare, but present, melodic guitar arpeggiations.
The instrumental interlude “Microbes,” albeit refreshing in offering some dynamic variance and space, offers nothing of real note and sounds like a quick GarageBand project to extend the EP’s already brief runtime. But “Subprime” continues in the same vein of violently furious deathgrind, but with some atmospheric, plaintive melodic passages that bookend and fade out the EP.
It should really go without saying that the Black EP finds a beacon on its relatively famous genetic makeup, in addition to the music speaking for itself. That being said, the reason why bands from a decade or so ago, including Nails, Magrudergrind, Full of Hell and Dead In The Dirt sounded so good was because this sort of neo-grind/powerviolence revival was so fresh and allowed bands to really make a distinct name and brand for themselves. It also takes a lot of time to find it, though. Daughters played this type of music back in the day on now-legendary releases like Canada Songs (2003) but now make very artistic post-punk goth rock.
There’s plenty worth praising on Scour’s end, including their ability to sound this tight, fresh and contemporary for a group of middle-aged men, in addition to solid songwriting, instrumental performance and production. Regardless, there isn’t too much to write home about here in terms of being completely distinct and offering something that makes them stand out from their contemporaries and genre-mates.