Scarlet Records

Fellowship – The Saberlight Chronicles Review

Fellowship – The Saberlight Chronicles Review

“I know that most of you have already eyed my score on this review, and have nearly broken your damn necks from the whiplash of rapidly scrolling up for answers. For many, this choice will come across as confusing and misguided, but as someone who’s listened to Fellowship’s self-titled EP on repeat for two years, it’s anything but. That EP might be the reason I survived the early pandemic days with my sanity intact. It’s a bottomless wellspring of joy, dominated by gorgeous melodies, exhilarating solos, and clever, heartwarming lyrical turns. On the strength of those three songs alone, Fellowship’s debut LP would have probably been my power metal album of the year. The fact that every song on the record is as good as or better than any song from the EP puts it in another class entirely.” Off to see the Wizzard.

Volturian – Red Dragon Review

Volturian – Red Dragon Review

“It blows my mind that only two years passed since the last Volturian album, which I gave a positive review. I stand by that rating, too. Crimson stands firm as a pleasant and fun, poppy and sweet, goth-tinged experience. Big choruses, a fair share of decent riffs, and crunchy downtuned tones which I’ve always loved in this format formed a dance-able volume that is extremely difficult to put down, even today. The pandemic, which hit just before Crimson dropped, stretched time to the point that now, it feels like I wrote that review all the way back in 2018 rather than 2020. Nonetheless, it’s 2022, and sophomore album Red Dragon prepares to swoop down and incinerate my credibility as a metal critic of taste once again.” DraGONES!

Trick or Treat – Creepy Symphonies Review

Trick or Treat – Creepy Symphonies Review

“Even though I have pigeonholed myself as the album art guy around here, when I’m selecting promos, I actually don’t often select an album based on the art. I usually go by one of three methods: completely blind (either random or letting a colleague select), selecting straight from the list (where the only information I have is artist, title, genre and label), or cherry picking (where I listen to singles until I find something I think I’ll like). Trick or Treat is an exception, because just look at this goofy-ass cartoon cover! Either this will be stupid enough to work, like Nanowar of Steel, or it’ll be too stupid to work, like most power metal. So which one is it?” Symphonies of slickness.

Skeletoon – The 1.21 Gigawatts Club Review

Skeletoon – The 1.21 Gigawatts Club Review

“I’d like to start this review with an apology to Eldritch Elitist. I violated his rights by covering Skeletoon’s 2020 album, Nemesis. In Steel Druhm‘s excitement to assign me a goofy album from a goofy band with a goofy name, and in my excitement to receive such an honor, we both failed to realize that Eldritch had covered Skeletoon’s Goonies-themed album They Never Say Die in 2019, giving him the right of prima promo. The gracious Mr. Elitist gently broke the news to me shortly after that review published, and even went so far as to allow me to cover this, Skeletoon’s fifth album in six years. The Nerd Metal Superheroes are headed back into classic film territory, this time tackling the Back to the Future trilogy.” Yucks Capacitor.

Whyzdom – Of Wonders and Wars Review

Whyzdom – Of Wonders and Wars Review

“The time has come for this young(ish) sponge to return to his roots—bombastic, cheesy symphonic metal helmed by a classically trained soprano. This genre of metal used to be my absolute favorite for many of the same reasons people lambast it today, up to and including the extreme lactose concentration, countless layers of orchestration, and the wall of sound production that so easily overwhelms the neurally frail. I craved the feeling of my entire brain lighting up, desperate to keep up with the immense amount of stimuli bombarding it at once. Now on their fifth full-length album entitled Of Wonders and Wars, France’s Whyzdom attempt to recreate that same firework exhibit inside my nervous system.” Wonder wail.

Sun of the Suns – TIIT Review

Sun of the Suns – TIIT Review

“There is all sorts of weirdness going on with this release. It’s a debut album by a band that by all means does not seem to have existed until late May this year. Sun of the Suns have no Metal Archives page and their only social media channels, Facebook and Instagram, both dropped out of the sky one day with the album announcement as the first post. Yet the Italians helming the project have sufficient pedigree in their national death metal scene, enough to pull session participation from Fleshgod Apocalypse drummer Francesca Paoli and DGM bass player Simone Mularoni. Not to mention this sounds absolute leagues away from the exploratory, not-quite-sure-where-we’re-going-with-this tentativity you might expect from a debut.” First Sun of the first Sun.

Vandor – On a Moonlit Night Review

Vandor – On a Moonlit Night Review

“Two years ago, I touted Swedish power metal outfit Vandor as one of the most promising new acts in the genre, if for no other reason than the fact that their production aesthetics were orders of magnitude above the standard. To this day, In the Land of Vandor remains one of the best-sounding modern power metal albums I’ve ever heard. The bass shoved itself to the forefront and the vocalist took a central position, only occasionally weaving toward the front when he needed to really gnash his teeth, resulting in a record that sounded legitimately powerful. Uneven songwriting and iffy vocals held it back, but I was fairly confident they could rectify those issues with time. Let’s see how they’ve done!” Open the Vandor and let in some moonlight.

Vexillum – When Good Men Go to War Review

Vexillum – When Good Men Go to War Review

“”Bagpipes are a lovely addition to any song,” I staunchly declared a mere fortnight ago in another review. While my bagpipe rule of thumb held true on Wynter Arvn’s Abysses, I’m struggling to stand by my words after spending the last couple weeks with Vexillum’s When Good Men Go to War. Strong onion, weakly held? I’d say so. How could I have known that this opinion would make me grimace so soon? Rather than adding a haunting and epic mysticism to Vexillum’s music, the bag-pipe is instead an ever-present, garish nuisance.” Bag men.

Winterage – The Inheritance of Beauty Review

Winterage – The Inheritance of Beauty Review

“You know when you lose a bet and find yourself wearing a Red Sox jersey and forced to eat a hundred cocktail weenies until you purge yourself in the tub? Well, that’s nothing compared to the Paw of Steel punishment for picking on Kenny. Ken told me it was corset-core. Cool, I like corsets. There may or may not have been the mention of Nightwish, but I cataloged that as trollarchy. So, I took the punishment and rolled with it. Well, you know those times when a movie character comes to a dramatic realization? When the camera zooms in, and they look up at nothing and whisper, “Dear GOD”?” Cheesy justice.

Verikalpa – Tuoppitanssi [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Verikalpa – Tuoppitanssi [Things You Might Have Missed 2020]

Verikalpa at its core is akin to a blend of melodic death and black metal. Laden with keys that sound like accordions and a logo that looks straight off of Ensiferum’s merch table, Tuoppitanssi could have fallen with ease into the ‘been done before’ bin without much effort from the listener.” And yet, I’m reviewing it 10 months late.