Album: Grey (EP)
Released date: July 15th, 2016
Genre: Black Metal
Country: United States
Label: Housecore Records
I am the type of guy who occasionally picks up black metal albums not hailing from Norway, or to any non Scandinavian peninsula, and South America. The reason behind this is that I haven’t really found impressive black metal crafts outside those continents. Well there are a few, but most are just dull and boring. Then I was informed about an interesting six track album coming from the United States.
What we have here is an extended play record fabricated by a black metal super group formed by Down frontman, also former Pantera lead singer, Phil Anselmo. The band is called Scour. I wasn’t really surprised after I heard the news that Phil had started another side project, having the knowledge that forming numerous metal groups has been quite his hobby for the past years. What caught my attention was the fact that this new coalition adopted the black metal genre as its musical class, yet most of their members came from a more technical and progressive classification.
Scour is a black metal quintet consists of Phil Anselmo (Down, Arson Anthem, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Superjoint) on vocals, Chase Fraser (Conflux, Continuum) and Derek Engemann (Cattle Decapitation, Conflux, Covenance, Christ Hate) handling the guitars, John Jarvis (Pig Destroyer, Fulgora, All Will Fall) on bass, and Jesse Schobel (Oracle, Cast The Stone) behind the drums. They were formed in 2015, but it took them a year to release an EP. On July of 2016, Scour finally released this EP and named it “Grey“. Now outside Phil and Derek, the three other members of the band had never been to a black metal group. And this certainty had brought me great interest on the output of their overall product.
If you guys had been following Anselmo‘s career, you might have heard that he did the guitars and backing vocals for the black metal band Christ Inversion from 1994 to 1995, and went behind three instrument responsibilities at guitars, bass, and drums for another black metal act called Viking Crown from 1999 to 2001. Derek Engemann is not new to the genre too, as he did the vocals, guitars, and bass tasks for the two man black metal band Christ Hate, from 2007 to 2009.
With the exception of the two; I was very intrigued to see how Fraser, Jarvis, and Schobel will handle the duties that they were assigned to. And subsequent to listening to this EP, I was staggered on how they were able to amplify an overall sturdy release. This release is impressive in a number of ways, and that includes the duo of Chase and Derek who dispatches a barrage of relentless and obliterating guitar riffings that will utterly wipe out everything laid down on its way. The wave of tremolos present in “Grey” provides a very terrifying and shivery character to the offering.
While Jarvis‘s bass is not loud enough in the mix to add a more sinister undertone, it does have its brief crushing moments as it played well as a silhouette to the imperiling undercurrent of the whole album. Schobel‘s drumming, though solid in some ways, was not that sui generis. Jesse topped up his drum work with an abundant amount of blast beats which can be occasionally irksome, even so, it does function ideally with the intense sound brought forth by the paired guitars.
And finally, Phil Anselmo‘s work behind the mic in here is definitely mind-blowing. The dude perfectly maintained high quality vocals throughout the whole EP, and until now it really leaves me dumbfounded how he was able to materialized such ardent and vehement delivery. Moreover, apart from pulling off great black metal shrieks, his adroitness on performing bizarre and rigid low growls also brings a luminous significance to his performance. With his vocal capabilities, and the band’s all-inclusive talents assimilated together, Scour was able to build a powerful and noteworthy finished material.
All that said, “Grey” is an offering that without a doubt showed how this super group side project has all the aptnesses of creating dreaded albums in the future. It may not be as innovative and groundbreaking as its Scandinavian black metal peers, still, this record is totally worth purchasing and it is worth adding to your collection. Earlier this week, Scour had announced their plan of releasing a new EP late this year with a new drummer, Adam Jarvis, on board. With another top-notch musician in their disposal, this upcoming material will inevitably array a more flourish and conceivably jaw-dropping outcome.