For most quirky/ novelty bands their success is short-lived once the punchline – and usually a number one hit - has been delivered. Even in the world of heavy metal and rock, once you've seen the Spinal Tap infused set there is seldom enough to draw you back as a lifelong fan. Evil Scarecrow is different. Despite forming in 2002, it was their breakthrough set at Bloodstock in 2011 put them firmly in the minds (and hearts) of metal fans, and the jokes have never worn thin. Every time you see them lead a crowd into the box step of Robototron or the pincery shuffle of Crabulon, even the toughest of metal fans can't help but get gooey inside.
There's plenty of larger than life moments on their latest album that are bound to come with some amusing audience participation moments too. Skulls of Our Enemies pokes fun at Viking lead power metal with charging battle riffs and an equally rambunctious chant. Red Riding Hood gives the fairy tale a Martian invasion makeover, with Dr Hell sounding more and more like the fire-spitting Rammstein singer Till Lindemann. There's no doubt that their sound is more massive and their themes more outlandish this time around. Ways to Die chronicles a variety of bizarre and gruesome ways to cop it and Gus, Zag and the Turnip King and Cosmos Goth Moth Gong are deliciously bonkers additions to the album with some severely pummeling riffs to boot. Hurricanado is the star of Chapter IV combining choral, symphonic, metal and if the moves in the video are anything to go by, it should be absolute carnage in the mosh pit when they unleash this beast of nature in a live show.
Musically the band have excelled themselves on this album growing more confident with their solos and percussion and unafraid to go totally crazy with their lyrics. Their growing success owes as much to their musicianship and stagecraft as it does to their uniqueness. Rather than over-egg the same old smutty cock jokes or overuse ball breaking falsetto, Evil Scarecrow has found their niche by making space their playground. With light years of infinite possibilities, the universe is their crustation.
Groupie rating 4/5