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Scum Sentinel – Sentinel of Scum (2011) - 60%

Asag_Asakku, June 5th, 2012

1990s Scandinavian black metal is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for a plethora of bands from around the world. It indeed offers a seductive death & thrash blend, fused with uncompromising punk nihilism and morbid Gothicism aesthetics. This mixture gives life to Montreal band Scum Sentinel, which just released its first record, entitled simply Sentinel of Scum (2011). Band members - called Elfire from 1999 to 2008 - are real dark metal veterans from Quebec, working in this evil registry for over ten years now. So what is that beast made of?

What strikes immediately the listener is the group will to play it old school. It evokes instinctively all first Darkthrone albums, with a sharp distortion saturated sound, giving a strong feeling of (poor) live recording. The "nostalgia" is particularly evident on Primitive Dark Rituals, which opens hostilities (which is also Elfire’s only demo recording title). This song recalls Mayhem, especially the voice, which pastiches Attila Csihar. These kinds of similarities recur elsewhere throughout the album.

Musically, beyond all possible comparisons, the result remains strong. Performers have a certain talent, wearing a broad experience, which gives a record full of big riffs, oscillating between thrash, rock and black metal. Satan is invoked with great enthusiasm and cohorts of nuns are raped. By cons, it is regrettable that the song writing seems to hesitate between a knuckle-fist and a slower/heavier style. Thus, songs like Fucking a Nun With a Fistful of Anger or Nailed on the Altar have very good thrashy passages, but are interspersed with sections that break rhythm with useless mid-tempos.

Listening to Sentinel of Scum gives the impression of savouring an old Mayhem album, which is no small compliment. However, in order to evolve, Scum Sentinel has to forge its own identity, which will distinguish it from its illustrious predecessors and allow it to be more than an exercise in style. 6/10

Originally written for metalobscur.com

Scum Sentinel - Sentinel of Scum - 55%

PlagueVirus, September 13th, 2011

Well, first off, this is Scum Sentinel the Montreal black metal band's first release. It's obvious that Scum Sentinel is a black metal band, whether that is good or bad is for you to decide. This album is composed of elements that are very common to the black metal genre like tremolo picking, a lot of distortion, blast beats, and gargling classic black metal vocals.

It should be no surprise to anyone with a clue of what the typical black metal lyrical subjects that these lyrics are in fact anti-christian and war lyrics. Most modern black metal bands seem to try to relive or revive the early 90's black metal scene by playing in the original style of bands like Burzum, Darkthrone, Bathory, Mayhem and more. This album is well-rooted in its roots, maybe even too much. I strongly feel that Scum Sentinel stick to one formula. It's not forward-thinking at all as this album is a bit of a re-run of Darkthrone's first two albums.

Don't get me wrong, I love my old school black metal. But when modern bands try to sound the same but with their own pale artistic vision, it's a little disappointing. Nonetheless, this album does have quite a few enjoyable moments. Many good, catchy riffs are presented, but not in a way that it's all very memorable structure-wise. Also, at some points they do slow things down and pound in the riffs in a way that you just can't help yourself but to bob your head to the rhythm. Overall, this album is nothing new, but still has enough enjoyable moments that it's listenable.

Black metal purists who worship the early 90's scene will probably dig this quite a bit, but someone looking for something with a little more vision will not be satisfied with this release. I think there is potential in Scum Sentinel, they just have to release it.

For fans of:

Darkthrone
Mayhem
Bathory
1349
Dark Funeral