Scouts Honor went through a bizarre transformation over the course of their discography. While they started out playing country-heavy folk-punk, there were tinges of metal and dirty soul that might have hinted at something else. This is probably what it was hinting at, but it's still interesting that for their final full-length, Scouts Honor has emerged as a noticeably sludgier, occasionally repetitive stoner rock act.
On Buried, the band plow through a smokey sound that puts them on a plane closer with Melvins and early Torche. In "Sway," frontman Jared Grabb is nearly howling like Danzig as triumphant, mighty guitars are wielded with big, muddy riffs sloughing through. The intensity goes on an upward trajectory as the band move into "Vultures" and then "Books of Bokonon," with shredded backup vocal assistance from bassist Ernesto Castillo and the latter of these songs a fierce, sloppy motorcycle brigade of sorts.
Sometimes Scouts Honor are kind enough to give us a reprieve from the aggressive ash of the album's aroma. "Men of Money" starts out sounding like a possible jangled acoustic folk-punk break before it lurches into a typically riffy beast; but it does pick it up into a punk rock tempo soon, retaining Grabb's southern snarling over it. "Arise" actually chooses to utilize this pacing too. It's a much-needed "break" of sorts.
Unlike those aforementioned bands, though, Scouts Honor is pretty concise with what they do. Even if you include the stripped-down Track 0 stuff, the 10 songs span just over a half-hour--but then you get to the droning hidden track at the end, which is really just a loop of the opening flourish for about, oh...half a fucking hour. It may not actually legitimately be a loop since I feel like I hear minute changes every now and then, but it's probably not worth any punk's time. Just because a CD can hold 80 minutes doesn't mean you had to fill it up, guys. They do follow that with a pretty raucous, Planes Mistaken for Stars-style rager. And then a sarcastic folk song about rock-star aspirations.
Since this is the band's final chapter of sorts, you also get a bonus DVD with a 90-minute-ish documentary and scattered performances. Since the whole thing is pretty DIY, you probably shouldn't expect multiple HD cameras shooting the band live; if you do, you'll be disappointed with the mostly single-camera angle. But the sound is actually pretty damn good. And the documentary itself involves face time with seemingly everyone who was in Scouts Honor, detailing their history chronologically and how it was touring, specific shows, and recording their various releases with a number of different producers--all intercut with the aforementioned performance footage. It's good to hear them talking about the songs themselves, too, discussing the issues they relate to (one such being scene violence). Granted, the entire documentary is long and probably tedious for fairweather fans like myself, but more interested parties would probably be well-informed by it.
Overall, it's a hell of a package for those that were really into Scouts Honor. I don't know if I'd recommend this for those that have been on the fence all along, but interest beyond that would certainly yield a good time.
Books of Bokonon
Sweating Through Our Days