Released: 2013, Noisehead Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Spinning a fresh new take on the whole death metal scene can be an almost impossible task. The genre seems bloated with so many bands all wanting to stake their claim as the ones treading a new path. Most of the time of course these great pretenders are simply adding a little spin to what has gone before. With Austrian quintet Scarecrow NWA though you do at least get years of experience, experimentation and a radical change in the set up of the group for this latest offering. With outgoing keyboard player Orestis being replaced by Gsputi a guitarist the time was right for these enduring deathsters to reinvent themselves and to write the next chapter in their history.
Not frightened to cross sub genres there’s a bit of Tech, a pinch of Viking and a whole lot of angry in the metal cooking pot this time round, not to mention an underlying feeling that this is in many ways a very heavy prog rock album.
The songs are astoundingly long and follow only loosely the verse, chorus, verse, standard, they do if truth be told ramble on a little here and there. From a technical point of view though these guys are awesome right from the off, no slacking or lazy fills here, it’s all precise well thought out and superbly executed stuff. Even the rumbling vocals have a kind of neatness to them which won’t surprise anyone who’s ever been to Austria, the whole place is clean and tidy, so it seems is their singing, even if it is in a death metal band.
Scarecrow are at their best when they keep a semblance of brevity in mind such as on ‘At Dead Of Night’ which has some slick changes of pace along with a clever near theatrical use of the guitars. On ‘Self Enslavement ‘ we get spoken word in the intro, a killer drum and bass workout and twin guitars singing away in total unison. This is the standout track for me, it’s clever without being over indulgent and most importantly makes you want to bang your head like crazy.
Apart from that one big moment though this is a mixed bag, mostly it’s honest decent and inventive without really having that wow factor. On occasion ‘Transgression’ gets a bit carried away with itself although it never falls into downright poor territory mainly due to the sheer skill of the musicians. A nice try at doing something new but room for improvement.
Review by Gary Trueman