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Scarlet Hollow

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Scarlet Hollow What if Never Was album cover
3.66 | 10 ratings | 3 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Path (7:01)
2. Apathy's Child (4:00)
3. Thermal Winds (4:41)
4. Around The Bend (11:05)
5. The Waiting (5:17)
6. Behind The Lines (3:38)
7. All That Remains (5:41)
8. As The Blade Falls (6:16)
9. 20 : 20 (4:41)
10. Nightfall Overture (7:25)

Total Time 59:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Allison VonBuelow / Vocals, Acoustic Guitars, Lyrics
- Gregg Olson / Electric Guitars and Production
- Jeff Mack / Bass Guitars and Bass Pedals
- Diego 'GROM' Meraviglia / Drums and Percussion

Releases information

Melodic Revolution Records, November 2012, CD and digital.
Produced, recorded and mixed by Gregg Olson at the Alien Workshop
Mastered by Ian Shepherd and Gregg Olson at Mastering Media in the U.K.

Thanks to aapatsos for the addition
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SCARLET HOLLOW What if Never Was ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(60%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SCARLET HOLLOW What if Never Was reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars US band SCARLET HOLLOW was formed sometime around 2006, consisting of Allison von Buelow (vocals, guitars, synthesizer), Gregg Olson (guitars, synthesizer, programming), Jeff Mack (bass) and Diego Meraviglia (drums, percussion). They first appeared with the EP "Sanctuary" in 2010, and two years later they are now ready with their full length debut "What If Never Was", released on US label Melodic Revolution Records.

In terms of style, this is band that hovers in the borderland between progressive rock and progressive metal. I kind of assume that it will be a generation issue where you'll eventually place them yourself, people a bit long in the tooth and bald at the top will be most likely to apply the metal tag, while those a bit more wet behind the ears most likely will be able to comprehend why this band is associated with metal at all. A case of perspective more than anything I guess.

The key ingredient in this band's mix of styles aren't instrumental however. While Scarlet Hollow does have a fair amount of good and frequently intriguing instrumental themes, it is the lead vocals that carry the compositions, which is for better and worse both. I get a distinct impression that von Buelow's voice are given the task of replacing key melodic details that otherwise would have been catered for by keyboards of one kind or another. An approach that does give the band a somewhat unique sound, but which also comes with it's own set of pitfalls and curve balls.

Returning to the instruments and compositions for a bit, the main ingredients of those are relatively calm and mellow themes sporting acoustic guitars and light toned, undistorted electric guitars as key ingredients. Drums and bass are well applied, with the lead vocals hovering on top. Darker toned guitar riffs are applied sparingly, most often for the chorus and dramatic effects. Keyboards are even more rare, at least in terms of being given a dominating spot in the proceedings. But when applied and in a more or less upfront manner wandering piano motifs and more commonly symphonic inspired backdrops are used to good effect.

A few exceptions aside I found Scarlet Hollow to be a band that excel at the calmer moods and atmospheres. And this is mostly due to the aforementioned part of the vocals. Von Buelow has a distinct, melodic voice and a finely controlled delivery, but at least as I experience matters she seems to struggle when employing a more intense, dramatic delivery. Especially when dealing with the lower parts of the register. I generally found the harder hitting parts of the bands repertoire to be a bit hit and miss too, and while some of the finest moments of this album can be found when they explore the metal-tinged parts of their sonic palette all of the least convincing sequences are of this kind too. The chorus of the otherwise highly intriguing The Waiting one if the better examples of this. Obviously in my personal opinion only, as I'm not an oracle preaching universal truths.

Towards the end of this disc we're served a rare example of this band finding their way also in more of a purebred metal oriented creation. Nightfall Ouverture is the name of this particular creation, arguably a case of epic heavy metal more than progressive metal as such, but a fine and compelling piece it is and a case where the metal oriented themes dominate while the calmer ones are used as effects rather than the other way around.

All in all I found Scarlet Hollow's debut album to be a fairly interesting case of music residing in the borderland between progressive rock and progressive metal. And while there are a few compositions that are on the weaker side in my opinion, the majority of the material falls well under a description as solid in my book. As such a production worth seeking out if you enjoy melodic progressive rock and metal in general, and in particular if you have a soft spot for songs that by and large are carried by female lead vocals.

Review by aapatsos
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.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars One day I had an envelope arrive from Nick Katona, and I duly copied all the CDs and put them on my playlist and didn't really think any more of it. I had the made the assumption (yes, we all know what that means) that they were recent releases, so was somewhat amazed when I did some research on this album and discovered not only was it released back in 2012, but as far as I can tell it is still the only album they have ever put out! It took a little more digging to find out why that was the case, and apparently guitarist/producer Gregg Olson suffered a massive stroke the same year the album was released, which obviously had a major impact on him personally and on band itself. The good news is I have been looking at their Facebook page and it appears that not only has he recovered much better than anyone expected, but they are just putting finishing touches on the next album, which is something I am definitely looking forward to.

Scarlet Hollow are American, and with a sound like this they really could be nothing else. This is what Heart would sound like if they were into strong and heavy progressive rock, and if I was to liken singer/keyboard player Allison VonBuelow to anyone else in the scene then it would be to Lana Lane. The rhythm section is Jeff Mack (bass guitars and bass pedals) with Diego 'GROM' Meraviglia on drums, and together they make a mighty sound indeed. This is heavy prog with symphonic overtones, with superb songs and great performances from all involved. I had heard the name some years back but hadn't previously come across the album and am stunned that I have been missing out for so long. There is a confidence throughout, and it certainly never comes across as a debut album, but instead of a band who know exactly what they are out to achieve, and the ability to get there.

Allison can sing delicately and gently when the needs arises, and there is a strong use of acoustic guitars throughout the album to provide different layers and textures, while there is a powerful use of different drum patterns. One is never sure where each song is going to lead, as they mix and meld heavy rock with prog to create something which is more than the sum of its parts. It may have taken me seven years to get to grips with the debut album from Scarlet Hollow, but hopefully the new album isn't far away at all, and if you enjoy heavy progressive rock, with loads of shade and textures, combined with great songs and a powerful female singer then look no further.

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