Until this review, I was unfamiliar with the Ukraine metal band, Scarleth. All I can say is “Bring on the Ukraine’s!” The whole album flows like a crystal clear river full of beautiful harmonies and unique sounds. At first listen, they reminded me of a speed metal version of Nightwish but as the album developed, I discovered the diversity of sound this band brings to their latest album, Silver Lining. This is the second album from Scarleth, and the first featuring new female extreme vocalist, Oksana Element. Yes, there is a hint of Evanescence’s Amy Lee within her vocals. Like Amy, Oksana has an angelic soulful range but most of all she possesses a clarity of voice that is amazing.
The first song, “Night of Lies” is a classic heavy metal grand opener with a traditional guitar riff that transitions into a doom metal speed guitar to bring in Oksana’s beautiful vocals. It’s a kick in the groin – grabs you in the gut opener. Victor Morov roams between metal genres seamlessly, amazing us with his speed riffs flowing into melodic refrains. Scarleth has a very unique sound, mixing folk elements, doom metal and symphonic rock into the entire album. This comes through in track 2,”Double Memory” where the super fast guitar riffs dominate, accompanying by his guttural voice. If one track exemplifies their style, this is it. Definitely could be called the symphonic speed anthem of the album. “The Gates of Dark Sun” reminds me of the long, harmonic, gothic metal anthems from such legends as Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin – just with female vocals. Its run time is only 7 minutes, yet it feels epic. “Gates” moans of the eternal battle between heaven and hell throughout all of the ethos. Her angelic harmonies belied by his deep growls from the pits of hell, like Mephistopheles proclaiming his unending love for her. The folk music undertone just lends to this theme. Yet the keyboards of Anastasia Dmitrieva and Vladimir Ishchuk present a jazzy refrain to accompany the light of Oksana’s voice. This is probably my favorite track on the album. I love the Middle Eastern thrown in from time to time. Snake Charmer anyone? The next few tracks all continue the theme and maintain the clarity of the mix and balance of the mastering by bassist, Max Morton. Fans of doom metal and symphonic rock should be happy with this album. Many of the songs open with long traditional gothic refrains combined with speed riffs. Throughout the album, Dmitry Smotrov’s drums keep up with Morton’s bass. He easily meets the energy of Victor Morozov’s soaring guitar. Unlike other metals bands, each instrument supports the others but maintains its own identity. Don’t miss the keyboards on “Dying Alone”! When I first listened to “One Short Life” I thought I was listening to the opening of a Flogging Molly song. In “Night Falls” , Oksana brings her vocals down from the heavens and visits hell with some deep, powerful, pit of the stomach melodies. If you need proof of this singer’s range, listen to this track. Her dynamic highs and lows show that she is a real powerhouse. By track 8, “Pure Desire”, we have come full circle with a return to the grittier tracks of the beginning of the album. I love the funk bass riff that shows up mid-song. The final track, ”Last Hope” has a long, low opening that will knock you on your ass. The tom-tom work adds to the dirty, feel it in your knees sound. The band leaves you with a smack in the face, rock you to your core one last time song. You can just feel all the pyrotechnics going off!
With their sophomore effort, Scarleth makes sure every song does indeed have a Silver Lining. The current line-up has found a winning combination of melodic and dirty vocals, gritty speed and searing guitars combined with symphonic refrains. One thing that impressed me with this album was the line-up complimenting each other well. Transitions are smooth, vocals don’t fade into the background and drums keep up with the guitars. Victor Morozov could go on to be a legendary shredder. His shredding skills blew me away. If they continue the course they have charted with this album, I believe they will truly be a heavy metal force to reckon with! They will most certainly be added into my rotation.
Heavy Metal Babe