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Skarlett Riot - Invicta Award winner

Skarlett Riot
Invicta
by Kevin Lewis at 03 May 2021, 5:04 PM

SKARLETT RIOT is an English quartet founded in 2010. Blending elements of Heavy, Screamo, Nu and Melodic Metal, they powered forward with a fairly unique sound, giving them a nice comfortable pocket with lots of room to explore various metal alloys. "Invicta" is the bands third release, issuing May 7, 2021 via Despotz Records.

First and foremost, "Invicta" definitely feels heavier than "Regenerate," their previous release from 2017.  While the songs have some similar hooks and catchy lyrics, the guitars feel darker, a little more brutal. The drums are similar, but they stood out on Regenerate, so this is pretty much expected. The harsh vocals on this record are more prominent. The bass seems to have more power and even a bigger role in driving the band on "Invicta". All of this is a good thing, I love the harsher sound and feel of this album.

Leading off is “Breaking The Habit," a nice, fast-paced song with some attitude. It gives a preview of what is to come with the rest of the disc. The guitar work is exquisite. The little fills thrown in give the song a little more depth. Skarlett’s vocals go from almost spoken to soaring belts. The drums have some really cool pauses and starts. The variable patterns keep the listener on their toes, so to speak.

One of the singles from the record is next, “Gravity”. The opening riff is really nice and the drums absolutely ROCK! The intro harsh scream is well placed and sounds quite good. This song has the right amount of heavy to go with the combination of clean and harsh vocals. And that drummer, though! This song’s pace is fantastic. The blend of harsh and clean vocals meshes well and the rhythm is just right.
Black Cloud,” one of the more melodic songs is next, showing a different side of the band and giving the listener something else to notice, the ability to go into ballad mode at times. The belting vocals in the chorus with the underlying growls really give this song a different feel. This is a true “power” ballad, using heavier tones and the blended vocals to really drive the point of the song home.

Continuing down the track list, “Under Water” is back to the heavier end of SKARLETT RIOT’s sound at the start of the song, dropping into more melodic for the verses and chorus. Next is another single, “Stronger,” that quintessential song that lifts the listener up and makes them realize they are always stronger than they think. Given the chance, most people surprise everyone, but no one more than themselves, with their inner strength. This is a song that will play well live and really get the crowd going.

Trucking on, “Cut The Ties” and “Into Pieces” are opposite sides of the coin. “Cut The Ties” rips your face off and “Into Pieces” gives you a soothing hug. The shift in gears from one song to the next is outstanding. SKARLETT RIOT can mix it up and excel in both areas. These two songs really showcase the depth of talent this band has in both songwriting and performance.

Not Alone” ramps back up, but is not a truly heavy song. The riff is excellent and the drums are, as always, impressive. Even mid-tempo, Luke Oglesby absolutely rocks. “To The Flames” is another burner. The pace is a little subdued, but still hints at a lot more power than shows. This band seems to be able to harness their heavy while still letting it show through. Their mid-tempo songs still feel heavier than they actually are, which is an interesting talent that few bands possess.

The record wraps with “Falling” and “Human”. “Falling” is again that song that starts soft, with some far Eastern tones on what almost sounds like a harp, before it comes to the main rhythm. Never getting too heavy, the song hints at losing someone while wishing you could be what that person needs. This is another semi-ballad that really tugs the heartstrings. “Human” closes the record out with another powerful song using the mix of clean and harsh vocals. What a way to close this killer record out!

Knowing the drummer got a lot of love in this review, let’s not forget that this is a band of excellent musicians. I’m a huge fan of drummers that can vary and alternate patterns and rhythms like Morgan Rose (SEVENDUST) and Arejay Hale (HALESTORM), so Luke really hit me right in the feels. That said, Tim is a beast on bass and Daniel is an excellent guitarist. Tim drives this band like a train engine hauling 100,000 tons of freight. Daniel is a nimble-fingered riff master. His tones and textures are powerful and pleasing all at once.

Add to this Skarlett’s ability to fit into the song with poignant vocals that evoke emotion and really the listener in and you have a band that can attract a lot of attention. The fact that Skarlett is now using some harsh vocals of her own as well just shows how much she has expanded her technique and talent. In the eleven years of their existence, SKARLETT RIOT has really grown and expanded their sound, making them one of the best around right now. "Invicta" is a remarkable record and shows a great promise for the future of the band.

This is a record that shows the progression a band can make. The songs are powerful, the instruments tight, the lyrics relevant. This is an album that can be heard and felt. It is an experience. I was already a fan of SKARLETT RIOT and this record has just reinforced that.

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

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Breaking The Habit
2. Gravity
3. Black Cloud
4. Under Water
5. Stronger
6. Cut The Ties
7. Into Pieces
8. Not Alone
9. To The Flames
10. Falling
11. Human
Lineup:
Chloe "Skarlett" Drinkwater – Vocals
Tim Chambers – Bass
Luke Oglesby – Drums
Danny Oglesby – Guitar/Backing Vocals
 
Record Label: Despotz Records
     


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