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WHAT IF NEVER WAS

Scarlet Hollow

Heavy Prog


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Scarlet Hollow What if Never Was album cover
3.48 | 4 ratings | 2 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

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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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.

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What If Never WasWhat If Never Was
Original recording
Melodic Revolution Records
Audio CD$12.00

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SCARLET HOLLOW What if Never Was ratings distribution


3.48
(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
0%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (50%)
50%
Collectors/fans only (0%)
0%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
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.

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Send comments to Windhawk (BETA) | Report this review (#957461) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 11, 2013

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#987191) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 27, 2013

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