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Released: 2016, Self Released
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Every so often I get an email from a band that wants me to review their CD. I received one such email from Scum Scunge of Arlington, Texas. The band's first release "Five Bucks Ain't Shit" features the late, great Dimebag Darrell Abbott on three songs and a Chihuahua on the album cover taking a shit on a five dollar bill. Intrigued yet? Well the new self-titled album features a plethora of notable metal players including Scott Shelby (Warbeast, Gammacide) George Call (ASKA, Banshee) and Todd Evans (Mobile Deathcamp, GWAR) to name just a few, plus a zombie-ish portrait of the Chihuahua on the album cover. Chihuahua's are important to Scum Scunge and I also love these small dogs too.
What can I tell you about this band? Not much. According to their FaceBook page "Scum Scunge is a band formed in 2001 by Stuart Taylor after Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott gave me a guitar for Christmas. This changed my whole life." Stuart Taylor is also a concert photographer which may explain how he was able to land a lot of the album's many special guest performances.
The album opens with "My Grain" featuring a voicemail from an inmate at Tarrant County Correctional Center that is immediately followed by gurgling, growling vocals and a barrage of simple, down tuned, groove metal riffs. The second track "The Enemy" has a different vocalist but is still too funky for me to call "metal". The third track features a raspy George Call and all of the political views that come with being George Call which would have been fine except the background music is the same unimaginative, jumpy, Nu-Metal drivel as the first two tracks. Really surprised George would take part in this and sadly even his immense vocal talents cannot save this track.
Track four is called "Break Me Down" and here is what we know so far; each track is musically interchangeable, starting with a chugging open E riff and then they just slap a different vocalist on it and call it good.
I'd love to say something positive about Scum Scunge (After all, this is a Texas metal band we're talking about) but I can't. Not yet anyway. First off, I've never been a fan of mall rock like (Disturbed, Lamb of God, Marilyn Manson, TOOL) and this band seems to attempt to cater to that crowd but they are lacking the necessary musical chops and creativity to ascend to that level of commercial craftsmanship. In a nutshell, if they could rise to that level it still wouldn't be my thing but I could at least respect them for their musical ability.
Now reviewing a CD as cluster fucked with guest appearances is a difficult task in itself. I can't squarely shift all of the blame solely on the band's core members guitarist Stuart Taylor and drummer Christian Rock Meyer. Some of the vocals were half baked and and lacking any conviction. A lot of the lyrics are pretty juvenile and of the "Fuck you, I'll do what I want" variety. Having said that I doubt there are many angry teenagers out there ready to slap on a Chihuahua shirt and spin this CD while raiding their parents liquor cabinet and impregnating their girlfriend on the couch but I could be wrong.
All in all, what we can say is this was a very ambitious effort. Can you even imagine how long it must have taken Stuart to accommodate each guest musician's schedule and coordinate recording their parts? The band also didn't spare any expenses on the mastering of this CD utilizing Nomad studios (King Diamond, ABSU) I think we haven't heard the last of Stuart who is obviously a very driven and genuinely inspired guitarist (It all started with the gift of a guitar from Dimebag, but what does the future hold?) I'll look forward to hearing his progress.
1. My Grain
2. The Enemy
3. Left Behind
4. Break Me Down
7. Twisted Glass
8. Easily Offended
9. Let It Go
10. Black Sun
11. Hard To Breathe
13. Left Behind
14. Hard To Breath
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