RSS Feed


Noisehead (2013)
Rating: 7/10

These Austrian metalheads do have one of the most convoluted names, with the N.W.A. abbreviation standing for New World Annihilation. Thankfully, the album title is a lot more concise, thus being the fifth release from this quintet who formed back in the mid 90s. It’s been some four years since 2009’s Ishmael platter and because of the long wait Scarecrow N.W.A. have rewarded us with some 60 minutes of music on Transgression.

The band have been through several line-up changes – even while recording this nine-track affair – but it doesn’t seem to have effected them too much. The band is still fronted by Bernd Krumböck who is now backed by guitarists Alex Dunkl and newcomer Gsputi, while Stef Kelz takes up the drum duties with Ohlsen on bass.

So, with introductions now out of the way let’s talk about the music.

Well, Scarecrow N.W.A. have quite a formidable sound, muscular in its guitars and clinical in its drumming, and can best be described as a blackened style of death metal but with big lumps of melody. This is nowhere more evident than with the opening ‘MMXII’ which is not overly punishing but offers progressive melody over the gurgled black / death metal hybridisation of the vocals. My only issue is that the drums sound a little clicky in the mix and rarely seem to add any real weight to proceedings. However, when the combo opt for a colder dynamic – such as on the title track – the drums seem better suited, but again they seem a touch lost in the mix. Although the guitars are always twisted and complex.

Interestingly, Scarecrow N.W.A. used to employ keyboards, but Transgression benefits without such meddling, meaning that the sound is more direct and a tad more discoloured, yet quite engrossing. Again, the title track is key here, mixing melody with some excellent gurgled vocals. I believe that Bernd Krumböck should stick to such guttural spits rather than choosing to slip into a black metal rasp, because the deeper tones give the record a weightier edge.

‘Self-Enslavement’ is typical of the Scarecrow N.W.A. sound, but the melody is too defined here – if that’s at all possible – meaning that the vocals don’t really work alongside the weaker guitar and drum sound. The messages of disdain and hate are still potent on tracks such as ‘Technology Of Death’ and the galloping complexity of ‘At Dead Of Night’. However, the latter once again takes on more sinister airs when the pace slows to a gritty, grey chug.

I like this album a lot and feel that these Austrians have finally, after several albums, found their real sound. After all, it’s not easy combining accessibility with more extreme genres of music, but give this a few spins and it will really grow on you. I’d still like to hear more depth to the drums and weight to the bass, but overall Transgression is still a spiteful listen that should leave its mark on the flesh.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories