Written by Ana Krunic
BLACK METAL SUPERGROUP FEATURES MEMBERS OF PANTERA, CATTLE DECAPITATION, MISERY INDEX AND PIG DESTROYER
‘Supergroups’ aren’t uncommon, nor are Phil Anselmo side projects. The former Pantera frontman has got so many on the go that it’s hard to keep track of them. Add in that it’s been labelled as a black metal side project and you probably already have some kind of idea in your head of what Scour sounds like. Considering that the lineup consists of current and former members of bands like Misery Index, Pig Destroyer, and Cattle Decapitation, Scour sounds more like it’s a passion project rather than a side project for all of them. Their brand new Black EP, released on November 27, is the culmination of a trilogy that began as an idea between close friends on tour.
“We never claimed to be black metal, first and foremost, but a lot of my favourite bands are,” says Derek Engemann, Scour’s guitarist, and main songwriter. “This band was started when I was still playing bass for Cattle Decapitation, and I had a couple of songs written that didn’t quite fit the mould for them. I was actually on tour, during Summer Slaughter, and [bassist] John Jarvis was tour managing for us. We were going back and forth, kinda bitching about how nothing’s ever done right, how we wanted to do something our own way and we were like, ‘let’s start a band’. It was just some rough guitars tracked to some GarageBand drum track, and Jarvis went ahead and sent that to Phil. The rest kind of went from there.”
When you listen to the progression throughout the three EPs they’ve put out since 2016 (Grey, Red, and Black), you hear a few different things. A clear punk influence, some 90’s death metal, but the encompassing sound is definitely tremolo-picked, frozen wasteland black metal.
“I’ve never had the aspirations to put corpsepaint on or anything like that,” laughs Engemann. “I’ve always loved the style if you can’t tell. The blasting, the buzzsaw guitars. It’s kind of been my hidden desire musically, if you will, for a long time.”
The lyrics for the Black EP, written by Anselmo, are apocalyptic and considering the times, very fitting. ‘Flames’ makes mention of an endemic virus, and following the instrumental ‘Microbes’, ‘Subprime’ speaks of ‘The Order of Plague’. When you find out when all of this was written, though, you find out that Anselmo has a knack for being eerily prescient.
“That’s what’s scary about Phil, he knows and senses all, let’s put it that way,” he says. “We have the song Microbes, he’s talking about endemic viruses, and this was before any of this went down. Another crazy thing is that we have a song called Flames. That’s got a guest solo by Pat O’Brien [of Cannibal Corpse]. And I don’t know if you’ve followed his story at all, but he has a wild incident with his house going up in flames, so the song wasn’t written for him or anything, it just weirdly came together like that.”
Before their newest release, Scour had been working with Anselmo’s own label Housecore. However, in the lead up to the Black EP coming out, they landed a deal with Nuclear Blast and are now working under a union of the two labels moving forward.
“The EP trilogy was kind of a precursor, a build-up for the next step which is gonna be a full-length,” says Engemann. “I’ve already got a bunch of stuff in the works for that, we’ve got a better plan now with the Nuclear Blast/Housecore union so we’ll be a little more prepared. But we’ve got some surprises coming up, maybe a live stream or something like that. I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say.”
The Black EP is available now through Housecore and Nuclear Blast records.