2014 in Review: Evil Scarecrow's Doctor Hell - "2014 has done very well for me all round. Well done 2014".

Wehugely enjoyed the Scarecrow's last contribution to the pages of Metal as Fuck, so of course we got them back for a go at our end of year Q&A!

Hail, brother, and welcome back to Metal as Fuck! For those who didn't read the headline or the teaser, please tell us who you are, and where you are from! "I am Doctor Hell. Evil Scarecrow. I am the best one in the band".

We'll just have to take your word for that I guess. Has it been a good year for the band? What have you spent the year doing? "Much of the year has been spent getting our album Galactic Hunt released! We’re also working on a new video which is going to be mental! I can’t say too much, but the pre-production stuff is looking out of this world! Other than that lots of drinking and celebrating our album release".

Mmm, drinking... Sorry. I became distracted there. It's nearly three months since I had some booze and I'm quite thirsty. But enough of me. When you look back on 2014 personally, what things stand out for you as highs and lows? "I can’t really think of any lows! There was that time our drummer failed to show up to load out of a venue last weekend. That was pretty annoying. Our bass player has a wobbly knee? Erm… yeah… that’s about as bad as it’s got I think! It’s been a storming year for us, the highlight had to Bloodstock. It was just amazing. And the amazing support that we have had from our army of nutters has been staggering. We’re very humbled. We had our album launch party a couple of weeks back which was also an amazing night, especially if you ignore our utterly dreadful attempt at an acoustic set!"

I'm sure the punters lapped it up! How was 2014 for you musically, aside from any projects you’re involved in? "It’s been good. I love that I’m still discovering new music! My head was buried in the sand during the album recording, but yeah… 2014 has done very well for me all round. Well done 2014".

Well done indeed. That being the case, please name your best album(s) of the year? "Ouch. That’s a bastard of a question. It depends on my mood… Mastodon has to be in there (despite their weird-twerking-experiment-video), I am digging some of the Slipknot (I know it doesn’t work for everyone). The new Cannibal Corpse is also pretty good. But this week? Definitely the ludicrous Space Police: Defenders of the Crown by Edguy"

Yep. Probably the best cover of Rock Me Amadeus you'll ever hear. Or indeed ever want to hear.Now, we’re not going to ask for your worst album of the year, as people always say they try and stay away from bad music, but did you feel disappointed by any album that came out this year that you were looking forward to? I really hate to say this. But Pale Communion by Opeth disappointed me a bit. I am a massive fan of Opeth and love their diversity. I was just hoping for a bit more riffage, a bit more heavy. As a prog album in its own right, it’s amazing, as an Opeth album I’d just like a bit more of what made me fall in love with them. I guess this is just where they are now and I still dig it, but I did read some early reviews and guess I felt a bit misled".

Nicely put. Looking forward, what does 2015 hold in store for the band? "Ahhh that’s miles away! Who plans that far in advance?! Ask me after christmas!"

Ok. I'll pencil you in for the 'what we're doing in 2015' Q&A! On a wider note, how healthy do you think the extreme music  scene is where you are from, looking towards 2015? Any bands we should be looking out for next year that we might not already know about? "I think it’s as healthy as ever, at least from our perspective. There are some amazing underground bands kicking about that really deserve a good break next year: Stone Circle, Ten Cent Toy, Collibus, Obsessive Compulsive… fuck I could just go and on. I’d really like to see big things happen for our brothers in RSJ. They’re just fucking great guys, kind of nuts and utterly brilliant!"

Good of you to give some support to RSJ, not thay they'd need it... Sorry. I couldn't resist that. Moving away from new talent, the last couple of years have seen almost every band from the eighties and nineties that were even half decent (and many not even that good) reforming for another go at stardom. Is this a reflection on the state of the music industry as it stands, with labels unable or unwilling to nurture young talent and punters forced into going out and watching something more tried and trusted? Or is it simply a reflection on the laziness of those same punters who’d rather watch a bunch of old blokes performing in their own tribute acts rather than risking a tenner on new music "You jaded old bastard (laughs)! I love this view… Not sure that’s how I would word it! I do think some people just stall in their listening habits and find it hard to embrace new music. I’m not sure it’s lazy and is probably something to do with the make-up of their brains. Besides who doesn’t love a bit of nostalgia?

“Are the labels unable or unwilling to nurture young talent?” That’s a great question. I certainly don’t think they are unwilling but it has to be more risky in today’s climate. I feel a bit sorry for the labels in a way, but they still carry some weight and influence. I just think they need to redefine the model in how they make their money. They should re-engage with their audiences and develop subscription platforms to bring more exclusives to fans of their music. Is there more that labels could do to invest in new music? Yes. Perhaps they could ring fence some of the money they get with their ‘old bloke tribute acts’ to look at developing their own new platforms. Other than that, go out and see who you love! Whether that’s new emerging acts or older acts. I’d hate the idea that if I took a few years away to pursue other stuff and then I came back to music that we would be seen as cashing in or seen as a “safe bet” or “old”. Music is music, people are people, bands are bands and fans should be fans. Be excellent to each other".

A supremely non-jaded answer! You're not the first person to call me that by the way. I have a feeling you won't be the last.. Bearing in mind what you've just said, is there anybody as-yet unreconstructed that you'd love to sae treading the boards again? "I always regretted not seeing Pantera. I would love to see the other guys do some sort of tribute with some guest guitarists. But a band to reform? Hmmm. That’s hard as so many bands already have! At the Gates would have been on my list, but they’ve beat me to the punch. I’d really like to see some new material from Lawnmower Deth that would be great".

Let's hope they're reading this! And talking of old farts for a bit longer – not that I'd ever call Lawnmower Deth old, or farts for that matter - what did you make of the U2/Apple business? Great piece of marketing or appalling imposition on individual privacy?' "I didn’t have any problem deleting it so it probably didn’t piss me off as much as everyone else. It seems a pretty obvious thing to me though… Forcing your music on to someone’s playlist is a pretty shitty thing to do! Music is a very personal thing and this was, without question, a form of non-consensual invasion of that privacy… basically music rape. U2 musically raped us and we all feel dirty from it. From a marketing angle I doubt it did much harm to them - other than pissing off the the people that don’t already like them. Saying that if Apple offered us millions of dollars we would have done the same… But then we are poor and would probably do all sorts of degrading shit for millions of dollars!"

At the end of the day I guess there's not many that wouldn't agree with you! Important lifestyle question now – vinyl, cd or mp3? "Well… it’s mp3 most of the time. Carrying around all that vinyl isn’t practical. But who doesn’t love a nice physical copy of the CD? eh? Go on… Buy our nice Galactic Hunt digipacks… they feel great and will get you laid! I do have lots of treasured vinyl as I grew up with that medium. Alas, no system to play it on at the moment though!"

It's nearly christmas... surely someone reading this loves Dr Hell enough to buy him a tuntable? Finally, anything else you’d like to bring to the attention of the MaF readership? "Keep your eyes peeled for our new video (hopefully to be released before xmas) and help spread the word! Maybe we’ll get a christmas #1*"

*on Amazon, in a buried away obscure category (metal > heavy metal > bands beginning with E > ludicrous > poor).