Scour - Red EP album review
Phil Anselmo’s black metal venture leaves a trail of desolation
Whether you rank Phil Anselmo alongside the likes of Mike Patton for his willingness to stretch into all manner of new projects or treat his dalliances with multiple genres as attention-deprived curiosities, few would doubt the singer’s passion for the entire breadth of extreme metal. While his championing of Satyricon and black metal is known, his various flirtations with the genre in the short-lived Christ Inversion and Eibon produced very few songs, or in the two Viking Crown records, not a lot of substance – which meant new venture Scour wasn’t met with much fanfare when it was revealed in 2015. Yet with an accomplished band with members boasting years in the challenging Pig Destroyer, Cattle Decapitation and Agoraphobic Nosebleed in the bank, the Grey EP crackled with rugged mix of raw black metal and uncompromising grind. The follow-up is another short, 15-minute blast of viciousness, with opener Red sounding like Slayer fighting off wolves with a chainsaw and the demented cacophony of Piles churning and clawing its way to a frantic crescendo. But while its predecessor largely eschewed the more bombastic, Nordic elements, in style more akin to a serial killer hunting through an urban wasteland than in forests rising from a fjord, the disquieting Bleak does exactly what the title says: conjuring a vast, decrepit miasma with its desolate riffs and Phil’s maniacal, stalking wail. With the short, synthetic instrumental that’s more John Carpenter than Edvard Greig, Barricades and Shank perfectly fuse a rapturous collision of abrupt, clattering grindcore and searing black metal devilry, with the latter’s harmonic discord being painfully drawn out. Though gathering all members together from their respective day jobs may be difficult, it would be a worthwhile effort to produce a weightier tome given the Red EP leaves you so desperately wanting to hear more.