Evil Scarecrow – Chapter IV: Antartarctica
Dead Box Records
Release Date: 28/09/2018
Running Time: 48:45
Review by Beth Jones
Earth. 2018. The planet is in the grip of a dense stupidity, where man-size tissues attack poor offended snowflakes daily, and boys are forced to carry their school books in microwaves. Little do the poor earthlings know that their planet faces a new threat, in the shape of hot red people from outer space! The only hope lies at the feet of a crack team of renegades, known only as Evil Scarecrow, who must carry out a mission to play kick ass music to save the world, their mission, code name: Antartarctica.
Whether these intrepid minstrels are battling aliens, or fighting evil spirits they do it with style, and this new offering is no exception. In fact, for me it is the most rounded and musically mature album that they have released to date – even though their themes are still as bonkers and tongue in cheek as always, which makes them the band we have come to know and love.
The album kicks off with ‘Skulls Of Our Enemies’. A great tune to get things started, that could almost be a space age James Bond-esque theme for the impending Armageddon! It certainly has an element of impending large-scale disaster about it and is a great way to start!
One of their singles from this album, ‘Red Riding Hood’, is up next! This is such a great track – one of my favourites on the album, and it is absolutely terrifying! We saw them perform it live at Amplified this year and the 10-foot-tall grotesque Red Riding Hood stage character is the stuff of nightmares! But still tongue in cheek, with ingenious lyrical japes throughout, and musically great hooks, as well as the accustomed big chorus that is great to sing along to, that makes it very typically Evil Scarecrow.
Their songs really are huge musical numbers that accompany a theatrical extravaganza perfectly, and this theme continues throughout the whole album. It is proggy in places, it is symphonic and grand in others, with gothic and classic heavy metal thrown in alongside a healthy dose of electronica, as well as all the poise and excitement of a piece of spectacular theatre, which, combined with the lyrical craziness, could only be described as if the Goons or the Pythons had written Futurama through the medium of song then released it under the umbrella of Disney!
The album moves on, a pace and pretty soon ends up at ‘Hurricanado’, another rip-roaring tempestuous sing along, again with spectacularly catchy riffs, hooks and a big audience participation element. This track marks the half way point in the album, and is perfectly positioned at the peak, with its fast pace and the manic growls and howls of Dr Hell. By this point in an album I have usually heard one song that has made me pull a meh face, but not a chance here. Every element is perfectly placed, and not over egged. No song outstays its welcome, and each is different enough not to be boring, but has enough in common to make the story flow. It is witchcraft!
Track 7, ‘Polterghost’, is another favourite of mine, and not just for the madcap story, but for the brilliant chunkiness of the rhythm section, making it great for rocking out too, and the brilliant guitar work in the solo, which is not over stated or fussy, but fits the track perfectly.
What I think is really needed at this point in the album, is something to properly lose your shit too. Yet again the Scarecrows’ super sixth sense knew this and slotted in ‘Cosmos Goth Moth Gong’, because why not! It is by far the heaviest track on the album and brilliant to boot. I’m now wishing that one of the songs on this album was mediocre, as I am running out of ways to say, ‘this is damn brilliant’! This super track gives you the sense that the album is building to some totally explosive, all out galactic warfare, finale, that may result in certain death, or at the very least, a little bit of maiming. And then…
‘The Ballad Of Brother Pain’. Wow! This I did not expect! All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a toned down, slow ballad, with clean vocals and stripped back effects, that is melancholy and has a beautiful, almost ethereal quality about it, then a huge and brilliant guitar solo in the middle, taking it to the big lift ending! Again, a sing along, of stadium proportions, which blew my mind! I frikkin love this song! And indeed this album!
The closing, and title track, ‘Antartarctica’, combines all of the above, in a nightmarish, apocalyptic vision, of epic proportions with this piece on its own being an impressive 10 minutes in length! They have taken every element used so far and created an eclectic masterpiece, full of great guitar work, changes in tempo and dynamics, growls, clean vocals, rough and heavy rhythms, classic gothic cadences, narration, tension and suspense, a cuddly toy and probably the kitchen sink too!
Something very special happens when you listen to Evil Scarecrow. It brings out your inner child. No matter how bad your day is, a quick listen to this, or any Evil Scarecrow album, will bring you round and transport you into their crazy, warped Sci Fi world! The difference being with this album, is they have now really bedded in and are thinking bigger, and better, and creating musical masterpieces song after song after song. Their writing is now so mature, that they are approaching the point of complete perfection, hence my perfect rating.
This is probably the best album I have heard all year. I can’t really say much more than that, other than, get out there people, buy it and listen to it and love it like a brother, whilst you still have the chance! The world will be brought to an end by stupidity and people taking offence at the colour of the sky, but at least Evil Scarecrow will have made the end infinitely more enjoyable!
1. Skulls Of Our Enemies
2. Red Riding Hood
3. Way To Die
4. The Magician
6. Gus, Zag And The Turnip King
8. Cosmos Goth Moth Gong
9. The Ballad Of Brother Pain
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.