In between resurrecting his old band Superjoint (aka Superjoint Ritual) and working on the soon-to-be released second album with his solo band The Illegals, ever-busy ex-Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo somehow found the time to round up his black metal super-side group Scour to knock out a second EP with them.
The hectic schedule might help explain why the Red EP is nearly identical to 2016’s Grey EP – even the covers are the same, with only the colors on the band’s logo having changed. But I don’t know how much sonic growth or experimentation one could expect anyway when the first EP was 13 minutes long and the new one is just 16. Indeed, total up the two – or take them as a Side A and Side B – and you’ve essentially got one Reign In Blood-style full-length, a half-hour of raw, balls-out intensity with little ebb. And that comes here in the creepy, symphonic-style instrumental “Sentenced.
The rest is sleek, viciously precise, snub-nosed black metal that takes plenty of liberties with the genre’s often stifling conventions – Anselmo’s vocals are deep and gruff as opposed to shrill and piercing, there are guitar leads and the occasional groove, and the presentation is anything but low-fi purity. Indeed the production on Red is clear, bold and bombastic, just as it was on Grey.
But this is the work of seasoned pros – Anselmo is joined by Cattle Decapitation’s Derek Engemann, ex-Animosity/Decrepit Birth guitarist Chase Fraser and the Pig Destroyer rhythm section of Adam Jarvis and his cousin John – so a more “cult”-like, less polished approach might have seemed calculating or pointless. Instead, these guys embrace their chops and go for it, delivering a tangle of furious riffs and tremolo, stampeding drums and Anselmo’s burly roar with the gusto it deserves.
And though it may seem a bit of a repeat, taken in context, it’s really more a case of Scour finishing what they started with Grey. And as such Red definitely serves its purpose.
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