The Boston metal trio Scourge jumps in the blender on its new 8-song album, "Clarity." And while the band uses prog, thrash, and death-metal influences across the album, it also manages to stay relentlessly grim, so there's never a feeling that Scourge is bouncing around or unfocused.
Of course there may be times you wished you could escape the dark clouds that immediately gather on the instrumental opener "Moment of Impending Doom" and set the album's mood.
Guitarist Jeremy Pastrick and bassist Jon Huntley inevitably push songs into dark, downward spirals. Their shared vocals are raw and brutal throughout, recounting all manner of misery and torment.
There's more than one way to get to hell on "Clarity." "I Will Burn" shifts between quicker blasts of thrash and lumbering doses of doom. The towering riffs that launch "To the Gallows" use power metal to provide dynamic contrast for the dirge-summoning vocals.
Pastrick takes his flashiest solo on "Awakened Through Death," but for the most part works in lockstep groove with Huntley and drummer Nate MacMillen. MacMillen's rapid-fire delivery adds an element of chaos to the proceedings.
The 7-1/2-minute "Crowned' is the album's centerpiece, bringing the ache and pain of "Clarity" to full boil. But rather than dwell, the band follows "Crowned" with the hardcore-influenced number "Without Mercy."
Despite the diversity at play here, Scourge knew what it is was doing in naming this collection of songs "Clarity" as a big picture emerges from the maelstrom.
Scourge is playing a CD-release show Thursday, June 20, at TT the Bear's, 10 Brookline St., Cambridge. Tester, Forevers' Fallen Grace, and Seren are also on the bill. Show time is 8:30 p.m.
Here's "I Will Burn" from "Clarity"
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