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Scarlet Hollow - What if Never Was CD (album) cover


Scarlet Hollow


Heavy Prog

3.49 | 5 ratings

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Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars Led by the thundering riffs of Gregg Olson and the ethereal but also powerful voice of Allison vonBuelow, Scarlet Hollow debuted in 2012 with ''What if Never Was'' and bring a wave of hard rock into the realm of progressive rock, balancing heavy rocking riffs with well-worked melodies and carefully injected doses of synths.

Balancing on the edge of hard rock and progressive rock (with the balance often tilting towards the former), Scarlet Hollow manage to create an album that shows enough compositional sophistication to escape the boundaries of conventional songwriting but without compromising its mainstream leanings. Indeed, there is as much heavy progressive here as there is crossover prog.

VonBuelow's voice is not the one that is usually found in female fronted prog bands of nowadays as she relies more on power than on melody; yet, the mellow and folksy parts are not missing of her scale, especially on the acoustic parts. Even if the music is not as adventurous as often found in bands of this style, it is quite difficult to pinpoint influences for the music of Scarlet Hollow. There is clearly a metallic feel in their sound, also shown by their choice of covering (quite skilfully) Swano's ''Nightfall Overture''. Progressive metal, Dream Theater-like passages can be heard in e.g. The Waiting and the synth work in Around the Bend reminds me of Rick Plester's Black Symphony. The Rush influence is hanging above the album but except for parts in All that Remains, it is not readily obvious. 20:20 could bring to mind Karnataka and the acoustic Behind the Lines seems to carry a touch from the Seattle scene but also from the wider US pop scene.

Mid-tempos work very well and the shift from heavy riffing to clean/vocal-led pieces works in favour of creating an accessible result. The rockin' numbers are equally interesting to the longer, more progressive ones and the sequence of the tracks helps in maintaining the balance. There is no major fault with this release and it is unlikely that you can go wrong here if you like your prog with a heavy rock and equally mainstream character.

A great offering from Melodic Revolution Records and one of my top-10 in 2012.

Rockin' highlights: Thermal Winds, As the Blade Falls. Proggin' (and overall) highlights: Around the Bend, All that Remains.

aapatsos | 4/5 |


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