EP Review: SCOUR Red
Back in the late 90's, toward the end of Pantera's triumphant run, singer Phil Anselmo began casually name-dropping a number of side projects he had in the works, and damn were there a lot of them: Eibon, Enoch, Christ Inversion, Arson Anthem, Viking Crown… the list goes on. Many of these never came to fruition, and most of those that did were brief, flash-in-the-pan projects that never caught much attention. But the difference between then and now can be summed up in one word: Housecore. With his own record label at his disposal, and the crippling demands of Pantera's touring schedule long a thing of the past, Anselmo has the resources to indulge his musical explorations in nearly limitless fashion.
Many of the aforementioned abortive projects were to be either full on black metal groups or something similarly to the extreme. Last year Anselmo followed through on that promise with the first EP from his new outfit Scour. Clocking in at six songs over the course of 13 minutes, that band's self-titled EP (a.k.a. The Grey EP) witnessed Anselmo and crew – John Jarvis (Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed), Derek Engemann (Cattle Decapitation), Chase Fraser (Animosity, Decrepit Birth), and Adam Jarvis (Pig Destroyer, Misery Index) – tearing through primitive Darkthrone-worshipping tracks averaging about two minutes apiece.
Red is the follow up, also a six-song EP of similar length. There's not much here that isn't a retread of the band's maiden effort, but with a sum total of less than half an hour's worth of discography under their belts, it's not like Scour have had a chance to wear out their welcome. Anselmo's voice actually sounds a lot more credible here, genuinely hitting that sub-guttural, scorched earth screech indicative of true kvlt BM, and the rest of the band step up their Bathory/Deathcrush impersonation, all the while never quite rising above a tribute band to that ephemeral borderline where first- and second-wave black metal overlapped. Still a worthwhile listen as more than a curio piece just quite, but thus far Scour haven't exactly risen above imitator status.