Even without the live music scene, the world of heavy metal has an oversaturation of bands releasing albums on a weekly basis. As such, it’s no surprise that sometimes some releases and bands can slip under this ever-present radar; there are still so many gems to discover. Among those is the black metal act SCOUR, a band that, surprisingly, I was not familiar with, especially considering some of the well-known faces within the band, such as Phil Anselmo. This release – the EP “Black,” released on November 27th, 2020, via Nuclear Blast Records – includes what must be one of the most surprising guest performances of the century: Jason Momoa.
Now let’s address the elephant in the room. If you, like me, never pictured Khal Drogo singing in a black metal band, then of course, as a curious metalhead, this is a major factor in what can draw you into listening to “Black.” While that, to some, might seem like the EP’s strongest selling point, luckily this release contains many other aspects for the listener to enjoy. The album kicks off with an air raid siren, immediately catching your attention as you are pulled into the track, followed by fierce blast beats and grim riffs. As per usual, Phil Anselmo‘s vocal delivery is great and blends in well with Momoa‘s performance. The track includes other guest performances, such as guitarist Eric Rutan (RIPPING CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL, HATE ETERNAL). SCOUR continues in a similar way in the next three tracks “Nail,” “Propaganda,” and “Flames” (which feature CANNIBAL CORPSE’s Pat O’Brien).
The structure of the EP is similar to the band’s earlier works, with at least one of the tracks being an atmospheric instrumental interlude; in this case, “Microbes” builds the tension up by combining a piano, violin, and ambient atmospheric sounds. Midway through, a distorted guitar kicks in and a dynamic crescendo makes sure that the listener is left with a lot of suspense. The song flows smoothly into “Subprime,” the final track of the EP, which somehow carries the same atmosphere, pushing it through all the way to the end.
If you like your metal on the raw side, with relentless and dark riffs, blast beats, and a lot of other extremities, “Black” is the excellent release for you to accompany these dark times. With “Black,” SCOUR doesn’t re-invent the wheel; however, they deliver a solid piece of extreme metal that any black metal enthusiast will be excited about.
Philip H. Anselmo – Vocals
Derek Engemann – Guitar, Vocals
John Jarvis – Bass, Vocals
Mark Kloeppel – Guitar
Adam Jarvis – Drums