Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Could This Be a Transitional Album?
Genre Type: Groovy thrash metal with influences ranging from Corrosion of Conformity to Pantera
Scourge is the 1996 studio album by British thrash metal band Xentrix, and it would also end up being their last studio album before their first breakup. This is the album that shocks a good number of the band’s fans because it is a stylistic departure from their previous albums. Scourge is an album that sounds like heavier groove metal instead of the fast punk and thrash metal that you heard on their first two releases.
Xentrix is a good band to listen to if you get tired of bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Simon Gordon is the person that replaced original vocalist Chris Astley, and I’m sure that a good number of fans miss him but change is inevitable in music.
Scourge Is a Better Album Than It Is Thought to Be
For those of you that are familiar with Prong, the way that this album starts is with the Prong-influenced relationship breakup song called "13 Years." Scourge is definitely not the first album of Xentrix you should listen to if you are just getting into this band—but if you enjoy modern groove metal, then this album will be a rather enjoyable listen for you.
However, there is someone on the website Metal Archives that gave this album a 0% and that kind of a rating is really odd. I’ve heard much worse albums than this one. Sure, this album isn’t like the first two from these guys but it is not a musical flop either. Simon Gordon shows that he in fact does have the range but he doesn’t annoy you. In spite of the album’s title, this album does not cause the listener to suffer. There definitely is melody present such as in the songs “Strength of Persuasion” and “Never Be.”
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This Album Isn't All Groovy Thrash Metal
In an unusual sort of way, I find myself tuning in more to this album than the first two releases by this band. “Caught You Living” stylistically is similar to that Pantera’s song “No Good (Attack the Radical).” The next song which we already made reference to starts off with a progressive guitar riff that is also melodic as well and then the song is about what happens when a society cowers into loyalty to a government that does not promote good values. The song "Never Be" has a lyrical line with the words “It’ll never be the same again.” Such might be a sentiment that some fans of Xentrix may have given the departure musically from albums such as Kin.
Final Thoughts About the Album
“The Hand That Feeds Itself” is a song that is about people that are all-take and no give. These kinds of people typically take advantage of others as they spread their hate and pain upon others. The song also has a blues section in it with another melodic part that follows it to create a musical contrast.
“Blood Nation” is a song that lyrically is about living in times where it is ruthless and people are led by lies. The song is relevant to what is happening in the United States today as there is still the big lie being promoted about the 2020 US Presidential Election having been stolen. Politics aside, this song can be relevant today because of how divided the United States still remains.
“Creed” is a song that lyrically is about how the justice system discriminates against people based on the color of their skin.
“Breathe” is the last song that ends what is a controversial album among some of the fans but the bottom line is that many bands were changing their style in the 1990s.
Chris Astley would not have been the right vocalist for the groove metal style that is present on this album. For what it is worth, Scourge is a transitional album for these British thrash metal veterans and it is still a darn good album but more importantly, it is not too rough or heavy like Exodus or the later Pantera albums to be too much to handle.
© 2021 Ara Vahanian