Scourge – Hate Metal (2014) – These Brazilian death metallers took me by surprise when I got a hold of this album and like a great many releases, I thought it was just some regular old death metal band. As a matter of fact, the album’s first track “Intro – Sentenced To Die 5:37” sounded pretty haphazard and disjointed. But then when I got to “The Bread That God Crushed 6:30” (That one must go out to you, BreadGod) the listening experience suddenly became interesting. With atmospheres, latter-era Death technical progressive riffs and vocal barrage backed with thick grooves, I grew even more interested in this band. And it continued, as “Angels Of Wrath 4:26” came in with machine-gun percussion, more technical riff melodies and almost a Nile or Suffocation like atmosphere. I don’t know who the fuck these guys are, but they’ve crafted a winner in ten minutes of material. But the album is much longer than that, as “Orgy In Paradise 3:52” manages to quantify this greatness even further. That damn guitar solo is doing funny things to my brain, and I like every slight tinge of endorphin rush that I feel from this record thus far. According to the label, these guys sound like a child of Sarcofago, Sextrash and Holocausto. Though I’m only familiar with the first (iconic) act on that list, I certainly just stopped typing this review to get in a quick bout of air guitar without even realizing it. And I guess that’s one way to tell whether or not a bad is good. If you’re stopping a review for a few seconds, just to pretend that you’re strumming up and down the neck of an invisible guitar, then something akin to gold is certainly found within this sea of darkness, muck and shiny steel. “The Ancient Ritual Of Death 4:47” powers in much the same way as the others have, but this formula seems so devastating that it’s in no way boring. However, acoustics come into play when “My Hate, My Dreams, My Revenge” starts up as some rather sweet clean leads also serve as meat for the track. And yeah, there are no clean vocals to be found. This guy growls during the acoustics and I love every damn bit of it. Because you just don’t hear that anymore. Some musicians think, “Oh, these are clean melodies so I can’t growl.” But when you do and it comes off as right as it does on this track, (which goes back and forth between a spiraling onslaught and a beautiful acoustic) then you know you’re doing something right. And then they top all of it off with an extremely memorable solo. Keep in mind that I just got done reviewing the new Arch Enemy album and have gotten more than a plateful of Michael Amott’s solos, but this one still managed to make my ears perk up and take notice after all that action. The band finish up the album with the title track (3:51) which serves as a great anthem and closer for the piece. Once again, we’re treated to some absolutely incredible leads and if these guys break up or disband before the world can hear this, then metal has lost a very memorable act in Scourge. The intro might not have done anything for me, but the rest of the album delivered in spades… diamonds and clubs. Highly recommended.
Highlights: The Bread That God Crushed, My Hate My Dreams My Revenge (8 Tracks, 37:00)