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SCARECROW - Scarecrow

Release date September 13/19 (Bandcamp)

A sweeping instrumental opener, led by the sound of squawking crows and some haunting violin, greets the listener on this debut full length from Russia's Scarecrow. It proves to be an effective atmospheric opener, setting up for the subsequent 'The Journey', a doom-filled piece of work with some fine harmonica work that evokes memories of Sabbath's 'The Wizard'. Hell, it even includes a wild riff/tempo change at its conclusion, utilized so often by the metal originators early on in their career.

'The Final Problem' continues with the references to the Sabbath debut, a blues-filled and mournful riff taken over by more harmonica and some fine lead guitar work. There's a little bit of a drop-off in quality with 'When The Powers of Evil Are Exalted', but the subsequent short and sharp 'Worm of Anger' puts us back firmly on course, wisely utilizing a memorable headbanging riff. Things then get jangly and jazzy with 'Autumn Wood', which reminds one of laid-back Frank Marino overtures, before we return to doom-filled territory with 'Madman' and the concluding 'Scarecrow', aided and abetted by some more violin.

Kudos to the producer here, providing the band with a bottom-heavy sound that focuses on the rhythm section, but also allows the lead guitars to hit straight between the eyes. Perfect for this type of doom rock/metal concoction. Meanwhile, the vocals are of the clean variety that can best be described as being similar to those performed by The Vintage Caravan.

Altogether, this self-titled release hearkens back to the 70's in its oaken sound, riffage and willingness to take the listener on many different paths on its 37-minute voyage. A damn fine debut that should be sought after by fans of quality doom.

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