Scourge Lair caught the attention of the esteemed Nuclear War Now! Productions with the release of their 2019 demo ‘One Hundred Eyes One Hundred Arms’. That demo was the second in the career of the Finnish, following the 2017 demo ‘Abominable Entities’. Both these demos were released by Nuclear War Now! Productions on cassette in late 2021 and formed the prelude for the band’s full-length debut, the 2022 released ‘Calamities’.
Whether Death Metal or Black Metal is your cup of tea, it’s hard to deny the quality of the Finnish scene. And Scourge Lair doesn’t just settle for one or the other, but instead blends it into a Blackened Death Metal mixture. The guitar sound is murky and downtuned and reminds me of bands like Goatlord and Autopsy, with a thick bass sound further enforcing this Death Metal aspect. This shines through especially when the tempo goes down a notch, but even the faster paced sections have a flair of acts like Grave Miasma but in a much more straightforward fashion. The Black Metal essence comes more from the croaking vocals and some of the up-tempo riffs that have a distinct Darkthrone vibe to them. The result is a versatile record, where tracks go from fast Black Metal sections to chugging Death Metal and near Doom Metal rumblings. Scourge Lair’s songwriting skills excel, as these transitions feel natural and fluid despite the songs swinging from wild and ferocious to groovy and at times downright threatening.
Personal favorites include the more grooving sections of ‘Sacrifice’, the Doomy passage and subsequent change of pace in ‘Communion’ and the furious outburst in ‘Barren Ascent’ but you would be hard-pressed to find a dull moment amongst the five tracks that comprise ‘Calamities’. If you like the murky sound of Goatlord and Autopsy and don’t mind a solid infusion of Black Metal, chances are you are going to love this album.