Musically, Red picks up where Scour’s 2016 debut EP Grey left off.
The songs are all fairly short so I’ll dispense with a track by track review – chaotic, frenzied black metal underpinned with a slight death metal/grindcore edge (perhaps owing to the musical backgrounds of the instrumentalists) with brief, haunting guitar solos overlaid.
Phil Anselmo himself is no stranger to black metal, having long been a devotee of the genre (not to mention performing in some black metal projects himself over the years) so with that in mind, he’s a more than suitable voice for Scour; conversely, Red is the perfect platform for him to lay down some of the heaviest lyrics, and harshest vocals, that he’s delivered in years. It also represents something of an evolution from ‘Grey’, as he’s pushing himself in every song. His vocals are at once becoming another layer of the sound, and rising above it. It’s hard to imagine ‘Red’ having been conceived and performed with anyone else at the microphone. The title track and ‘Barricade’ are fine examples of how his vocals and lyrics complement the music.
The instrumentalists themselves are a key reason as to why Red works so well (new drummer Adam Jarvis really gets to display his talent on album closer ‘Shank’). Owing to their aforementioned backgrounds in death metal and grindcore, the brand of black metal found on Red is chaotic, and searing. There’s a subtle technicality in the way that the riffs are constructed that just adds to the haunting atmosphere. ‘Piles’ and ‘Shank’ are fine examples of this, but each track here has been constructed with care.
Red is short, but it shows that Scour aim to deliver. The unhinged maelstrom contained within will be more than enough to keep listeners satisfied while Scour plan their next musical assault.