Reviews : Albums : Scum, "Gospels of the Sick"

Scum, "Gospels of the Sick"

Scum are a super group assembled of members from Emperor (Faust and Samoth), Amen, Mindgrinder and Turbonegro. Their debut Gospels for the Sick might just be the most proficiently played old-school metallic punk album in existence…though you’ve got to admit, the genre isn’t known best for tight musical execution, so Scum don’t exactly have stiff competition. The promo sheet claims that these guys are “Sex Pistols meets Slayer” and I say “exactly!” Vocally, Scum are 100% aggro-punk, while musically, the band walk the line between simple, raw black metal with a heavy helping of thrash and old-school, early 80s, no-frills punk. The result is decent, though by no means is it revelation inspiring, bowel-moving or euphoria inducing.

The main problem on Gospels for the Sick is that the vocal delivery and lyrical content is almost silly, and in comparison to the rather well played music, it’s downright unworthy. If Scum were to stop trying to be the missing link between the two best genres in music and just hire Chuck Billy, Tom Araya or Peter Dolving to do the honors on the mic, their music would still be fun to listen to and at the same time feel serious. The fact that the closing track, “The Perfect Mistake” is dominated by black metal vocals, and stands out as the single best song on the album amply proves my point. The punk feel would be all but gone if Scum traded vocals, and that might bother the band since they’re probably out just trying to have a little fun straddling genres, but it would make a far better album.

Though I just spent the last paragraph trashing Scum’s musical formula, there are some good tracks on this disc that do use the punk delivery. And, fortunately, even the ones that aren’t high quality, “good music” are still kind of fun to listen to. Black metal fans should be wary of Gospels for the Sick, and punkers might not understand how a 10 song CD can last longer than 40 minutes, though those of you still curious about Scum after all these warnings may just be the degenerates for which this disc was made.

Standout Tracks

   The Perfect Mistake
   Night of 1000 Deaths
   Road to Sufferage

Peter Johnston