Scarecrow – Scarecrow II
Wise Blood Records
Release date: 22/10/2021
Running Time: 44 mins
Review by: Alun Jones
You could say I was a little confused when I first heard “The Endless Ocean Overture”, the opening track on this second album from Scarecrow. I know the clue’s in the song title, but this really is a big, full on orchestral piece – complete with moody storm sounds and crashing waves. I thought the Ever Metal Delivery Monkey had sent me one of those symphonic metal monstrosities by mistake – there are NO GUITARS here. At least not on the first song.
Not that it’s a bad track – it’s actually very atmospheric and very bloody clever. Just a bit of a surprise, that’s all.
Scarecrow are a Russian doom rock band, taking their inspirations from the classic seventies masters like Sabbath and Zeppelin. When track 2 – “Blizzard” – kicked in, I realised my mistake. Yes, here we have it: blues based heavy rock that could have easily been produced in 1973. Groovy riffs, batteringly good drum breaks, high pitched wailing vocals – all the tropes are present and correct. “Blizzard” has all these, plus relentless changes of pace which means the listener can bang their head or swing their bell bottom jeans all in one song.
“Magic Flower” has a slower, doom blues sound with some mouth organ for additional retro stylings. There’s even a folky mid-section with some Plant-esque banshee screams. Up next is “Spirit Seducer”, a rocker that’s more of the Iommi sound already hinted at, and some pounding rhythm.
Scarecrow are nothing if not ambitious. “The Moors” is a hell of an epic: warm acoustic guitar intro; doom laden heavy riff, ethereal keys: all the ingredients are here, and happily we reach another Sabbath like peak in the middle of the song. Some of the orchestral feel of the opener makes a well-judged return here, adding to the bombast.
When I heard the intro to “The Golden Times”, it was easy to make the comparison to Sabbath tracks like “Orchid” and “Fluff”. This song flows along serenely, with the vocals making me think I’d started listening to a new Wolfmother recording. Another multi part piece, best to just mellow out and enjoy the ride – till the increasing pace runs off with your ears.
The range and scope of this album really is very impressive. “Scarecrow II” is an accurate love letter to the giants of yester year, whilst firmly placing the bands feet alongside contemporaries like Uncle Acid and Graveyard. Scarecrow has delivered an album that features new spins on the old ideas co-existing with brave, surprising augmentations.
This review has been brought to you by Platinum Al in association with Ever Metal.