Gospels for the Sick

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When members of very different sounding bands get together for an all-star project, one is never sure what to expect. The members of Scum have belonged to bands ranging from Emperor (guitarist Samoth and drummer Faust) to Turbonegro (bassist Happy Tom) to Amen (lead singer Casey Chaos) to Mindgrinder (guitarist Cosmocrator). Talk about a diverse lineup! Emperor is the essence of black metal, while Turbonegro is a delightfully trashy, decadent party band whose influences have ranged from Iggy Pop to Alice Cooper to Kiss. And Amen's caustic metal/punk assault doesn't sound anything like either Emperor or Turbonegro. So what does Scum sound like? Gospels for the Sick combines a strong appreciation of old-school punk with an equally strong appreciation of thrash metal and '80s hardcore -- in other words, the raw, primal anger of the Sex Pistols, the Germs, the Dead Kennedys, and Black Flag meets the heaviness of Testament, Slayer, Exodus, Dark Angel, and early Metallica. This is nasty, harsh, brutal stuff, but is also quite hooky; Scum clearly admires the sort of hookiness you got with old-school punk anthems like Black Flag's "Rise Above" and Fear's "I Don't Care About You," but Gospels for the Sick is much heavier. Those who know Samoth and Faust from Emperor and Happy Tom from Turbonegro will find that Scum doesn't sound like either of those Norwegian bands; however, Amen fans will find that Chaos is as angry and angst-ridden on this 2005 release as he is on Amen's albums. Gospels for the Sick isn't the least bit groundbreaking by either punk or metal standards, but it's a decent, noteworthy effort that is worth hearing if one holds metal and punk in equally high regard.

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