A decent debut.
Scarleth is a gothic power metal band from Ukraine formed in 2005. They have played some 140 shows since then and have also released several demos. In between the band has worked tirelessly on their first record including taking some 16 months on the artwork!
‘Broken World’ opens at break neck speed with a thrash like riff supported by a very powerful melody. This exhausting tempo recedes a little but soon fires back for the chorus. Grand keys open ‘Child Of The Forest’ before a more pounding progression is released. Scarleth follows these two galloping tracks with the most eclectic song suitably titled ‘Crazy Fever’. The most foreboding intro of bass and gothic keys creates a haunting atmosphere. The guitar fires up a crunchy riff then suddenly the keys disappear off into a jazz composition. The song returns on track with that slow crunching riff during the verse and chorus leading to a frantically fast guitar and keys solo. Regretfully the messy jazz keys really spoil this claustrophobic track.
The remainder of the album continues at a lesser tempo. ‘Shadow Fades Away’ is an epic number that explodes with some retro keyboards before being joined by the six string grinding away. This comes to a sudden halt for a much stripped verse before returning for a crunchy chorus and haunting solo. This is just beaten for best song by ‘World Depends On You’ which is wonderfully uplifting track. This precocious rocker is full of fun and energy showing the band at their most simple and infectious. To close out they opt for two tracks that dip their toes into progressive genres. ‘Flaming Angel’ has deep thundering riff and bass whilst the keys provide an eastern flavour whereas ‘You’ll Never Die’ is an atmospheric number that has all the feel of being thrown around a crashing open sea due to a pulverizing progression.
This is a decent debut, nothing surprising or exceptional but a good listen. Julia Elyashova has a crisp clear voice that has depth but she does have an accent to her singing which may not be to everyone’s preference, and it’s worth noting that she has now been replaced by Olga Marenich. It is obvious that each member of the band can play his chosen instrument extremely well with various solos scattered throughout, especially guitarist Victor Morozov who shows a great and varied ability. The production is well handled and the album has a clarity and crispness which helps the multi faceted output. Those with a passion for power, battle and epic metal should enjoy this as should those with a love of varied metal styles. However some might find the fantasy lyrics off putting and some with a love of straight up metal will find the extended interludes indulgent and drawn out. Neither of these negatives is unwarranted, but it does depend on your palette. This is an agreeable power metal vehicle and shows plenty of tenacity, ability and promise.
Scarleth is another Ukrainian band, another in a tidal wave of Eastern European bands that seem to be redefining our concept of that «Evil Empire» Ray-gun told us about, while trying desperately to up the defense budget. And this bunch is nothing if not determined. The music here was largely developed and recorded in 2010, then they spent nearly a year finding a label and distribution outlets. They settled on Casket Music from the British Isles and we finally got the release here. . . it was worth the wait. This is not necessarily representative of any single style of music. You don’t get that all the time from Eastern Europe. They cover a variety of musical themes; they don’t stick to one style. But, what you get is some really strong musical composition, some very strong delivery and a better than average coverage of the other components that go into a full music performance. The vocals here are delivered by Julia Elyashova, not operatic by any stretch but more than competent for this style of music. Interestingly enough, she’s already gone from the band, replaced by another vocalist; I suspect we’ll be hearing from her on the next release. Hope she’s half as good. But, unlike some productions in the femme metal arena, the vocals here don’t dominate. This band is competent across the board, and the production folks take what they’re given and make it as good as it can possibly be. Those vocals, and the English pronunciation is good enough to make an English major blush, are positioned just where they should be, they tell the story but don’t invade the space of the instrumental folks, which leads to an exceptional musical composition. The art work is another plus, I understand it took some time to produce and it shows. This music goes in some interesting directions and the artwork seems to capture that variety in all its glory and magnificence. If you like your artwork in the dramatic and bloodthirsty vein, this will satisfy your demands in spades.
I think you might describe this as symphonic metal, maybe Gothic, but certainly not always. And, you don’t always get the symphonic either. There’s a lot of guitar based material here, and some of it really screams. Hard to really classify, harder still to describe since it tends to have a variety of topics from one track to the next. You almost have to look at individual tracks to get a feel for the classification issue. And, they’re so diversified that you can’t really come up with a median descriptor, us statisticians are somewhat overwhelmed. But, we like it. And there is some flow to the individual tracks. The first two, Broken World and Child of the Forest are good ol’ fashioned rockers. And, if you look at the CD booklet, it doesn’t take long to figure out the message. Broken World is about war, and the graphic depicts a warrior standing over a fallen opponent, with a sword in his chest. You get some of this with the Russian band Arkona, that historical perspective that addresses the ancient battle lore, but you don’t get the graphic too often. The vocal here is pretty much representative of our lovely vocalist, the one on this CD that is. And, as I mentioned previously, it’s pretty easy to follow the story line with that amazingly clear English pronunciation. Child of the Forest seems to follow a similar theme, although this one begins with a more pronounced keyboard symphonic. But, again, the graphic in the book is a bit sinister, a lovely huntress, knife in hand, appears ready to strike. The story again goes contrary to the typical Gothic theme, here the thought is freedom and the music provides a rousing background, heavily influenced by the guitars as the song moves along.
However, as we get to the third track, Crazy Fever, we enter Gothic territory. The pace slows; the sound takes a more sinister tone. We get a more complex music, more heavily keyboard based with both synthesizer and piano sounds. And Julia goes into a darker sound as well, and it may be a more attractive sound. She can do the darkness as well as anyone, and, with the background Gothic driving the action we get an almost epic presentation. The lyrics also take a turn to the Gothic:
Day is dying and Night / Starts dire play
Here comes the Knight / That takes souls away
Scorched and shattered remains / Of a holy corpse
Wretched and lame / Abyss opens the doors
One of the beauties of the Gothic musical style is the use of an expanded range of musical techniques. Of course, you get the keyboard material, the symphonics, that’s usually a requirement and you find it in most of the Gothic, whether it comes from Europe, East or West, or from South America or other places. But you also tend to get a more expanded vocal, at least some significant overlaying of the main vocalist. Hopefully, you get some choral work as well and, in many instances, we expand all that with a male vocal, clean or harsh, the later moving us to a B & B interpretation of the Gothic musical style. Scarleth uses most of this, with the exception of any male vocals. And they probably focus more on a variety of guitar styles to ride over that keyboard background. Of course, the key component, in my opinion at least, is the focus on dark, thematic lyrical work. You get all that in most of the music here, at least after those first two tracks. And, quite a lot of it is relatively lovely.
The Gothic theme, delivered with an almost doom sound, continues with several selections. In The Abyss is another epic sound, dark and mournful. Metal to be sure but with that dark Gothic undercurrent, much of it keyboard based. Again, the lyrics take us to a tortured perspective:
Welcome to the World of Fear / The world that is ruled by the devils
Wake up your mind / You’ll hear the symphony of grief
Here I belong sweet child / Born of the scorched dark Angels
They haven’t seen the light / And will stay with me
There is some diversity of the sound, even the Gothic material. Flaming Angel clearly presents an Eastern oriented sound, both with the instrumental work and with the vocal. Not something you would expect from Ukraine to my way of thinking, but a truly interesting track, something that provides a completely different feel even if the message does meet the requirements of a Gothic production. Oh, and that graphic in the video is taken from the CD booklet, nice stuff, huh?
There is a slight break in the Gothic in those final tracks. If you prefer the straight up metal, World Depends on You will be a highlight. Pounding drums, screaming guitars and a devastating vocal, all over a thundering bass and drums drive the track. You get some filler piano but this one tends towards the more metal sounding, even the lyrics take a break from the darkness to just provide a joyous ride through the wilds of metal.
Scarleth is a little different from some of the Eastern European Gothic sounds. There is a symphonic on most tracks; there is the dark lyrical direction to provide your requisite daily visit to devastation. But, it’s a little less than the standard fare. If I have a concern, it’s that our follow up vocalist might not meet the talent we see on this release. Of course, I could be pleasantly surprised. But, until then, this one should satisfy, more strong work from the «Evil Empire». Who’d a thunk it?
9 / 10
Семь лет донецкая команда SCARLETH шла к своему дебютному полноформатнику – меняя составы, записывая демки, активно выступая, накопив в своем активе совместные выступления с ЧЕРНЫМ ОБЕЛИСКОМ, СЕРГЕЕМ МАВРИНЫМ, SHADOW HOST, EVERLOST. FRAGILE ART и прочими… В общем, творческий и профессиональный рост – все как у всех. Основательность подготовки дебютного релиза выдает в музыкантах неисправимых перфекционистов: несмотря на то что запись альбома отняла чуть более месяца, общая работа над альбомом вылилась в полуторогодовую эпопею – сведение, мастеринг, подготовка 12-страничного, к слову, очень приятного на глаз, буклета. Поиск издающего лейбла тоже отнял немало времени и сил и, в итоге, SCARLETH остановились на английском значке Casket Music/Copro Productions (у них, кстати, вовсю издаются воронежцы GRENOUER). И вот первенец, призванный разрушить тишину, увидел свет. Первые два трека Broken World и Child Of The Forest выдали солнечно позитивный speed/power с приятным и сильным женским вокалом Юлии Эльяшовой. А вот дальше стало значительно интереснее – симфонический gothic/power metal не без проговых ноток (вероятно, не окажусь первым, сравнив SCARLETH с AFTER FOREVER и отчасти EPICA, XANDRIA и LUNATICA) – с интересными клавишными партиями (Crazy Fever, Black Tears), отличными соляками (Shadow Fades Away), жирными запилами (World Depends On You) и непростой композиционной структурой (особенно Shadow Fades Away, In The Abyss, Flaming Angel – в последних двух чувствуется влияние THERION). Баллада Black Tears удачно оказалась в самой середине треклиста, сбалансировав собой альбом, но все же, “Break The Silence” кажется немного перегруженным разнообразным материалом. Из недочетов я бы отметил затянутость альбома (почти час для дебютной работы многовато), выбор английского языка (украинская или же русская лирика несомненно добавила бы изюминки композициям, хотя, возможно, и сказалась бы на продвижении альбома вне постсоветского пространства), и отсутствие экспериментов с вокалом – например, совершенно напрасно была заброшена идея с гроулом в Crazy Fever – думается, могло бы выйти очень интересно. В целом же получился свежий и сильный альбом – исключительно достойный результат для первого альбома. Оценка: 9/10.
SCARLETH..’BREAK THE SILENCE’
(Copro Records) Reviewed 19th January 2012
This Ukrainian band completed this album back in 2010 and then spent a year searching for record company, but unlike many bands who give up and give their album away, Scarleth persevered and their determination was rewarded by a contract with British label Copro Records. Meanwhile, artist Vyacheslav Smishko spent 16 months creating the glorious booklet art, so an enormous amount of time, effort and dedication has gone into the release of this CD. Their music has loads of influences from power and gothic metal together with heavy and melodic rock, but it falls into two loose camps. Openers ‘Broken World’ and ‘Child of the Forest’ head towards French light galloping slightly speedy metal, à la Fairyland/Wildpath/Kerion, less symphonic but still with loads of great keyboards by Sergey Kovtun. They then take the tempo down a touch for the four central multifaceted but cohesive epics that are more gothic and Therion esque in nature, mixed with some heavy and melodic rock, the menacing ‘Crazy Fever’, the superb ‘Shadows Fade Away’ that sways between beautiful lighter verses and more powerful choruses, the gorgeous ‘Black Tears’ and the mighty ‘The Abyss’ that builds and builds. These leave plenty of room for some wonderful instrumental passages featuring Sergey’s rhapsodic rippling piano and spooky pipe organ, Victor Morozov’s terrific and highly varied metal and rock guitar work, and Alexey Belikov’s fluid skilled bass playing that is a real feature throughout the album. It’s all powered along by Sergey Frolov’s drums and supported by a most professional production job by Victor Morozov. They return to the more speedy sound with the catchy ‘World Depends on You’, the shortest track on the album, then comes the exotic eastern flavoured ‘Flaming Angel’, before ending with another epic ‘You’ll Never Die’ that brings the two strands together. Sultry singer Julia Elyashova puts in a sterling performance with her strong expressive clear voice, the mike has since been taken over by Olga Marenich, and I must make special mention of the most excellent and very poetic lyrics that are very thought provoking, “Desperate Days that linger so slowly, One day without end I’ll find my way to life, Keen scorching anguish is the fate of the lonely, Doomed to live on the edge of a knife” (Black Tears). A most enjoyable and easy to listen to album with loads of hummable tunes for anyone who likes power and gothic metal or heavy and melodic rock. Their website is http://scarleth.com.ua, it’s available at Copro’s store and other top shops, a well deserved, hard earned 8.75/10 (Phil)
From the Ukraine, Scarleth combine gothic rock with celtic influences. And Break The Silence (Casket) is surprisingly deft and confident. Maybe a little short of being top class, nonetheless it suggests this band could make a major impact in this area of rock.
Die Metal-Szene in der Ukraine scheint quicklebendig zu sein und offenbart seit geraumer Zeit in mehr oder weniger regelmäßigen Abständen bis dato unentdeckte Talente, die sich unserer Musik in nahezu allen erdenklichen Stilrichtung hingeben.
Ein weiteres interessantes Exemplar aus dem dortigen Underground nennt sich SCARLETH und existiert seit dem Jahr 2005. Zwar sind bislang offenbar noch keinerlei Veröffentlichungen in Umlauf gebracht worden, doch ganz so aus dem Nichts kann die Truppe auch nicht gekommen sein, schließlich darf das Quintett sein Debüt über ein international agierendes Label an den Start bringen.
Aber wie auch immer, verdient hat es die Band auf jeden Fall auch international Beachtung zu finden, auch wenn uns mit «Break The Silence» vorwiegend Bekanntes wie Bewährtes aufgetischt wird. Doch immerhin weiß der Fünfer mit Frontelfe Julia Elyashova ihr symphonisches, bombastisches Melodic Metal-Gebräu ordentlich darzubieten. Dass hier wohl in erster Linie NIGHTWISH als Vergleich herangezogen werden, ist auf Grund der Stimmlage von Julia nachzuvollziehen, rein musikalisch gesehen würde ich SCARLETH aber doch näher bei den frühen EPICA und AFTER FOREVER verorten als bei den Finnen, zumal der Mix der Ukrainer eine ähnliche Prog-Schlagseite aufweist.
Diese lockert die Chose an sich ganz gut auf, ist aber leider nicht immer straff genug arrangiert worden, sodass phasenweise ein wenig die Strukturen fehlen und man den Eindruck von «Stückwerk» erhält. Vielleicht hätte man doch noch ein wenig fokussierter an die Sache herangehen sollen, ehe man das Album auf die Zuhörerschaft loslässt.
An ihrer Melodic Metal-Basis dagegen gibt’s kaum was zu meckern und zumindest ansatzweise ist auch schon Hit-Potential auszumachen. Von daher geht «Break The Silence» für ein Debüt sicher in Ordnung.
Scarleth — Break the silence
Scarleth is a band from Ukraine and they were formed way back in 2005, but after finishing the recording of this debut (‘Break the silence’) and spending some time searching for a record label, they’ve just recently released it, eventually signing with Casket Music. The band’s main style is power metal, but there are some lightly symphonic spots and some of the songs drift to gothic metal. Keys are present, and there are also moments with a piano, both of which fit well with the band’s style and don’t dominate the songs.
Vocally, the band is female fronted by Julia Elyashova, who has a nice, clean, and somewhat soft voice, and she’s not of the soprano/operatic type that we’ve heard so much of the last several years (which isn’t a bad thing however), so she’s a bit refreshing. I personally have liked Julia’s pleasant voice, so I was a little surprised to learn that the band has recently replaced her with Olga Marenich (since the release of this debut). That said, I’m sure Olga’s a worthy replacement and I look forward to hearing her on the band’s next CD. I should also mention that there aren’t any male vocals, so this is not another one of those «beauty and the beast» bands.
The CD has a fantastic beginning, as both track 1 «Broken world» and track 2 «Child of the forest» are upbeat power metal songs with speed, catchy rhythms, terrific guitar and keyboard solos, and well done vocals from Julia. The CD then changes direction, slowing down quite a bit and entering gothic metal territory. The songs are still good though, with memorable choruses, frequent guitar solos, and enough flashes of speed to keep power metal fans interested. While I like the band’s mid-paced and slow-paced songs almost as much as the fast-paced (more power metal oriented) songs, track 7 «World depends on you» is similar to the first 2 opening tracks (another pure power metal song), and greatly helps the CD stay of the fairly upbeat variety.
Because the band/CD doesn’t stick to one particular style and stay there, it’s been hard for me to come up with some direct band comparisons. I will say however, that during the CD’s power metal songs I’m reminded of the new band Elements, but when they wander to gothic metal, the band By Blood Alone comes to mind, though a lot of that could be due to the fact that Julia sounds a lot like By Blood Alone’s Cruella. Regardless of style, this is an enjoyable debut with very good songwriting and I’m certainly looking forward to their next CD.
SCARLETH – Break The Silence
CASKET/COPRO RECORDS/PLASTIC HEAD MUSIC DISTRIBUTION Ltd.
Die Metalszene in der Ukraine scheint quicklebendig zu sein und offenbart seit geraumer Zeit in mehr oder weniger regelmäßigen Abständen bis dato unentdeckte Talente, die sich unserer Musik in nahezu allen erdenklichen Stilrichtung hingeben. Ein weiteres interessantes Exemplar aus dem dortigen Underground nennt sich SCARLETH und existiert seit dem Jahr 2005. Zwar sind bislang offenbar noch keinerlei Veröffentlichungen in Umlauf gebracht worden, doch ganz so aus dem Nichts kann die Truppe auch nicht gekommen sein, schließlich darf das Quintett sein Debut über ein international agierendes Label an den Start bringen.
Aber wie auch immer, verdient hat es die Band auf jeden Fall, auch international Beachtung zu finden, auch wenn uns mit »Break The Silence« vorwiegend Bekanntes wie Bewährtes aufgetischt wird. Doch immerhin weiß der Fünf mit Frontelfe Julia Elyashova ihren symphonischen, bombastischen Melodic Metal-Gebräu ordentlich darzubieten. Daß hier wohl in erster Linie NIGHTWISH als Vergleich herangezogen werden, ist aufgrund der Stimmlage von Julia nachzuvollziehen, rein musikalisch gesehen würde ich SCARLETH aber doch näher bei den frühen EPICA und AFTER FOREVER verorten als bei den Finnen, zumal der Mix der Ukrainer eine ähnliche Prog-Schlagseite aufweist.
Dies lockert die Chose an sich ganz gut auf, ist aber leider nicht immer straff genug arrangiert worden, so daß phasenweise ein wenig die Strukturen fehlen und man den Eindruck von «Stückwerk» erhält. Vielleicht hätte man doch noch ein wenig fokussierter an die Sache herangehen sollen, ehe man das Album auf die Zuhörerschaft losläßt. An ihrer Melodic Metal-Basis dagegen gibt’s kaum was zu meckern und zumindest ansatzweise ist auch schon Hitpotential auszumachen, und von daher geht »Break The Silence« für ein Debut auch in Ordnung.
Scarleth — Break The Silence
Attention to detail can make or break a band’s efforts when putting an album together. Pay too little attention to where you put all the components and it all comes off as free form and chaotic. This certainly isn’t the case for Scarleth in their first studio release titled Break The Silence. Yet, while the scrutiny the band has put into this effort is obvious, it’s an ultimately non-engaging although dense hour long affair.
Playing a symphonic/gothic/power hybrid things start on a strong note with «Broken World» characterised by efficient guitar work and deft keyboards, making for an enjoyable if unmemorable opening. Vocalist Julia Elyashova, who has since departed the band, fills the album with a strong presence but seems to lack diversity which may be the result of placing emphasis on the English pronunciation of the lyrics.
Following the album opener we have a few very unexceptional tracks which sound overly drawn out and tedious. Filled with standard yet competent riffs given a little life with the never overbearing keyboards and methodical drumming, it is the vocals which give tracks such as «Crazy Fever» any point of reference to the listener. The laborious «Shadow Fades Away» and «In The Abyss» sound like an attempt at translating the gradual pace of doom metal along more symphonic terms laden with traditionally inspired guitar work. Each of these tracks clock over eight minutes, the former nearing the ten minute mark, and contain a few memorable moments but these are far too sparse to keep the listener attentive to the tracks in their entirety without inducing boredom. This is a major problem the album faces; it just lacks enough engaging material to maintain interest for even the most avid of symphonic or power metal fans.
That said there is material within which has a lasting impact such as the ballad «Black Tears» in which the band comes together at their best. The catchy «World Depends On You» is the clear highlight, offering at last something which will be difficult to forget after listening, all elements again being utilised at the top of their game. Album closers «Flaming Angel» and «You’ll Never Die» are stronger songs also, finishing the album in a much more positive light. The former is clearly distinct with its oriental inspired charm.
What you’re left with is an exceptionally well produced effort which unfortunately doesn’t reward the listener with a great deal of memorable music. The potential for some unique music is there but is held back by generally unsatisfying songwriting. The overall impression the album has is weighed down heavily by this songwriting which, despite its careful and dense construction, just doesn’t engage the listener at all times.
Scarleth Break The Silence
Released: 2011, Casket Music
The importance of Nightwish on the evolution of and influence on symphonic, gothic, operatic type Metal cannot be understated. With their explosion of global popularity, this particular sub-genre has been one of, if not the fastest, expanding sub-genres of Metal in recent years. Every month many of these types of bands from around the world enter onto the scene. This month (in honour of International Women’s Day, March 8th) we are going to have a quick look at seven newer bands, all of whom have a female vocalist, and all have released new albums recently. They are Diabolus In Musica (Spain), Evenoire (Italy), Meden Agan (Greece), Scarleth (Ukraine), Silent Opera (Italy), Sin Heresy (Italy), and Xandria (Germany). If you like the neo-classic, symphonic (etc) sub-genre, feel free to read the reviews in this series.
Scarleth are probably the most straightforward of the bands in this feature. That is not a negative feature but they have slightly fewer symphonic components. For example they forgo a long swirling instrumental introduction and get straight to the music. BREAK THE SILENCE is the debut album of this quintet from the Ukraine and it’s very enjoyable. The band seem to have everything going for them; a cool name, cool logo, an eye-catching piece of cover art and the support of their label, Casket Records.
Another asset the band has is the voice of singer Julia Elyashova. She is not a classical, soprano style singer but has her own voice and own style. She does sing in a mid to higher range but has quite a bit of power in her delivery. The songs are very interesting, there are some great parts like the intro to ‘Crazy Fever’ which as the bass guitar and organ playing around before the guitars kick in and the whole song picks up in pace before slowing back down with some acoustic piano, then the song picks up again…with all these changes I’m hearing a bit of a 90’s King Diamond influence, not in the singing but the spare construction of the song. When the vocals do kick in well past two minutes into the song, Julia sings but also has a whispered vocal tracked in the background. It’s a great song!
The album has an epic feel with many of the songs in the seven, eight or even nine-minute mark but so well written that they never get pretentious or dull. BREAK THE SILENCE shines in many places, production, song-craft, and individual performances. It won’t be long before Ukraine’s Scarleth is well known on the international stage.