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Scarlet Aura – Stormbreaker Award winner

Scarlet Aura
Stormbreaker
by Joseth Radiant at 12 February 2020, 7:09 PM

Since 2014, Romania’s SCARLET AURA has been carving a path for itself on the European metal circuit. Their latest album "Stormbreaker" is set to be unleashed upon the world on Mar. 27, 2020. Everything I’m about to say comes from the standpoint of never having heard of these wonderful Romanians before, so this is all new and fantastic for me. On top of having toured as an opening act for the likes of RHAPSODY REUNION, BEAST IN BLACK, Tarja, and a few others, it is with little surprise to see that they are already garnering a lot of well-deserved attention as they ramp up to both release the album and tour for it. After listening to the album for the first time and doing a little bit of detective work on the Google machine, I was surprised to discover that "Stormbreaker" is the second album in their “Book of Scarlet Trilogy” that follows the fantasy books written by lead singer Aura herself. 2019‘s release "Hot N’ Heavy" was accompanied by the first book in the series called Ignition. So on top of releasing a new album for 2020, getting ready to tour for the album this year, they are releasing a fantasy novel to accompany it. Wow! The only other person in music that I am aware of that attempted to do something similar in the last 100 years is Freddie Mercury of QUEEN. The song "Seven Seas Of Rhye" is inspired from his own fantasy novel that he eventually gave up writing, much to the chagrin of all of us QUEEN fans. Now I’m not much of a musician, a singer, or even an author, but for one person to have that much inspiration and creative energy to release both an album and a novel at the same time is phenomenal.

Musically, this album shows that they are indeed the rising star of Heavy Metal from Eastern Europe. Everyone online rants and raves about their live shows and how amazing they are, and the powerful performances all throughout this album are proof of this. They come off as one of those bands that even when they are on the bill as a supporting act, they make the headliner a bit nervous because they have to go on after such a strong performance from the band. Aura’s vocals are some of the most powerful vocals I’ve ever heard, and I’m not just talking about women lead singers. Throughout the album, her voice is determined to grab you by the throat (pun somewhat intended) and force you to pay attention. As I was reading the lyrics, I also found a few moments where I was thoroughly impressed. Instead of following the status quo where the lyrics in most Heavy Metal sub-genres are almost seen as background noise, it is refreshingly obvious to see that a lot of time, attention, and effort went into writing these. Also, Thor really showcases his talent on lead guitar with really feisty riffing and soloing. Even when he is tearing away with his soloing, it never feels like he is over playing. His solos and riffs always fit the song perfectly. The rest of the band really knows how to lock in and deliver a powerful punch as you listen to the songs. I also thought that the album closer "Scarlets United" was a wonderful way to close out the album. That song is a love letter to their fans, and you can’t help but feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

Now as much as I enjoyed the album, there are some issues that I would like to address. First of all, I’m not going to retract what I said about Aura and her voice, however, I would have liked it better if she had used more dynamics with her singing. Her vocals are all powerful, all the time. That’s not a bad thing, but I think that it could’ve had a lot more impactful had she softened her voice in a few spots. She also uses what I call the "banshee shriek" a lot. I think she could’ve used that vocal technique a bit less in order to keep it from becoming overbearing. I also think that the band struggles a bit when they try to do much with their instrumentation. There were a few spots where I could tell that the band was struggling to keep up with what they were trying to do. If the entire band had kept the songs a lot simpler, this would’ve been a 10 out of 10 for me. This is still a great record, but from this point in their career, I think they could benefit from having an experienced producer to help refine their sound a bit more.

In conclusion, I am very impressed with what SCARLET AURA has achieved with this album. I truly believe that they are an album or two away from releasing their masterpiece, and I want to see a lot more from them both in Europe and abroad. I am curious as to what the rest of the Romanian Heavy Metal scene is like, and I will do some digging to see what I can find. If you are a fan of powerful vocals, shredding guitars, and epic soundscapes, then be sure to check out "Stormbreaker" when it drops later next month. And yes, as always, BUY THIS ALBUM!!!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The World Is Not Enough
2. Metal Hell
3. Battle Cry
4. Stormbreaker
5. Loose Cannon
6. I Am the One
7. High in The Sky
8. The Heretic
9. Daddy’s Little Monster
10. A Blast from The Past
12. Scarlets United
Lineup:
Aura Danciulescu – Lead Vocals
Mihai Thor Danciulescu – Guitars, Vocals
Rene Nistor – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Doru Gheorghita – Drums
Record Label: Silver City Records
     


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Edited 21 February 2020
 

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