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SCARLET HOLLOW

Heavy Prog • United States


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Scarlet Hollow biography
SCARLET HOLLOW are a heavy progressive rock band from Ventura, California, USA. Initially as a trio, Allison VONBUELOW (vocals, acoustic guitars, synths), Gregg OLSON (guitars) and Jeff MACK (bass) release their first EP ''Sanctuary'' in November 2010. With the addition of Diego 'GROM' MERAVIGLIA and a two years worth of work, they released in October 2012 their debut concept album ''What if Never Was'' (including a cover of NIGHTINGALE's 'Nightfall Overture') through Melodic Revolution Records; the latter have also re-released their EP in the same year.

SCARLET HOLLOW's sound shows an emphasis on the hard rock side of progressive rock but still maintains a clear prog character, boosted by several long compositions, heavy rock riffs and the leading voice of VONBUELOW. They cite influences from bands such as KATATONIA, PORCUPINE TREE, OPETH, DREAM THEATER, RUSH, LED ZEPPELIN.

Biography by aapatsos

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SCARLET HOLLOW discography


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SCARLET HOLLOW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 10 ratings
What if Never Was
2012
3.71 | 11 ratings
A Window to October
2020

SCARLET HOLLOW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SCARLET HOLLOW Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SCARLET HOLLOW Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SCARLET HOLLOW Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Sanctuary
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
Terminal Winds
2012
3.00 | 1 ratings
I Am Divided
2017

SCARLET HOLLOW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Window to October by SCARLET HOLLOW album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.71 | 11 ratings

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A Window to October
Scarlet Hollow Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Lush electric guitars and synth performances and arrangements from Gregg Olson with solid rhythm section and interesting female vocals help elevate this music to my list of recommended listens.

1. "Adventures in the Kings Garden" (6:23) vocals a little too like HEART/Grace Slick. (8/10)

2. "From Sea to Infinity" (5:11) tablas used to great effect. Nice keys and vocals. (8.75/10)

3. "A Window to October" (7:05) gorgeous composition with fine performances all around. (13.25/15)

4. "The Forgotten" (4:23) solid prog soundscape but nothing too exciting or special. (8.5/10)

5. "Skipping on Frozen Fire" (6:24) interesting song palette for a deeply personal lyric: kind of dreamy. I like it! Nice guitar soloing in the final two minutes! Great vocal! One of my top three. (8.75/10)

6. "Jupiter's Calling" (4:04) more nice, lush, atmospheric prog music on display for this laid back and very enjoyable instrumental. My second top three song. (9/10)

7. "LVX" (4:55) continues the deeply engaging sounds of the previous. Allison's voice is really working within this one. Nice space-ambient outro. (8.75/10)

8. "Pendragon's Cove" (2:03) solo acoustic guitar with some floating background touches from Gregg's electric. Then he starts soloing. Nice. (4.75/5)

9. "Crimson Lights and Dark Waters" (9:12) 'tron! Acoustic guitars. Sensitive electric lead. Bass and gentle drums. ANNIE HASLEM-like vocal kind of doesn't work--until the gorgeous Annie Wilson-like chorus. Nice work, Allison! Bravo! Sensitive interlude in the fourth minute precedes a change of pace and style for the next section. Love the chunky bass and Mark Knopfler-like guitar! For some reason, I feel as if the vocal should be ... more. This could have been much more powerful. (17.5/20)

10. "I Am Divided" (7:57) feels like a more amped up re-take on the previous song--more as if HEART had done it. The tempo shift at the midpoint saves this one from dustbin doldrums. (13/15)

11. "Possibilities" (4:12) another ballad with layers of mixed/awkwardly paired sounds. Gorgeous albeit brief guitar solo. (I think it's the tone that wows me most.) (8.25/10)

12. "Dream Currents" (7:10) I like this one for its stylistic and tempo variances from the rest of the album. Again, Allison's voice is treated and mixed differently than the rest of the sound--making it feel oddly separate. (Too much compression or something?) Love the b vox choral vocals at the end! My other top three song. (13.25/15)

Total Time 68:59

There were several times that the soundscapes and guitar soling reminded me of Frank Marino's Mahagony Rush from the 70s and 80s.

B+/four stars; a consistent collection of beautiful, lush, mature prog compositions and a welcome addition to Prog World. Reminds me a lot of Dam Kat and her band, Children in Paradise.

 A Window to October by SCARLET HOLLOW album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.71 | 11 ratings

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A Window to October
Scarlet Hollow Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Back in 2012 Scarlet Hollow were getting prepared to release their debut album. Based around the core of Gregg Olson (electric guitars, synths) and Allison VonBuelow (vocals, acoustic guitars), the band was originally known as Echoes Landing and it was because of them that Nick Katona formed a record label. However, while Scarlet Hollow's album was in the pressing plant, Olson suffered a devastating stroke which led him unable to play or even hold a guitar, while he also had to learn to walk again. But he refused to quit, and over time he recovered, writing all the time. As the years progressed, he was able to play the music he had in his head, as opposed to having to dumb it down due his condition, so he kept rewriting and changing what was happening. In 2017 a new drummer was found in Jay Setar, and his skills and dynamism led to more changes, with bassist Jeff Mack also re-recording what he had already done. After eight long years the band is back, so what is the new album actually like?

Well, I missed out on the debut at the time, only hearing it in 2019, so for me there has not been too much of a gap between the two. In between I have also been fortunate to hear Allison's amazing solo album (where she is accompanied by both Gregg and Jay), and now we are firmly back in the progressive world. Gregg is a real fan of Jay's powerful drumming, and one can hear why as he is rarely content to sit quietly at the back but provide fills which lift the music to a new level without ever overpowering it. In Jeff they have a bassist who plays between the drums and guitar, providing counter melodies when the time is right, moving between octaves with ease to provide different dynamics while also happy to sit back. In other words, there is an incredibly strong rhythm section who provide both support and melody, a foundation for the others to strut their stuff. Gregg is often to be found playing melodic leads as opposed to chords, weaving a melodic tapestry which sits against the rest yet also not playing at all at times, allowing the acoustic guitar to take centre stage.

Then after all that we have Allison. She is a superb singer, and on this album, she is definitely channelling her inner Lana Lane, being gentle when the need arises, but with a real edge at others. I would love to hear her take on "Symphony of Angels" as I think that would be quite something. But there is no need for cover versions on this album, which is full of light and shade, and powerful songs from the pen of Gregg Olson. With Gregg back to strength, and the band now ready to get out and play, let us only hope this horrible virus allows them to do so in the near future and build the reputation they so richly deserve.

Here we have a progressive rock band who have refused to be beaten, and have returned with an album which shows that while it may have taken eight years to come back with the follow up, the experience has only made them stronger and more powerful. For all fans of female fronted heavy melodic prog rock. Superb.

 A Window to October by SCARLET HOLLOW album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.71 | 11 ratings

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A Window to October
Scarlet Hollow Heavy Prog

Review by alainPP

3 stars SCARLET HOLLOW releases its 2nd CD here on a resolutely melodic rock sound with some progressive tones. Let's take a closer look at this: Adventures in the Kings Garden" on his genesis and a female voice evoking Magenta or MOSTLY heather findlay era, melodic prog air, acoustic digression. "From Sea to Infinity" with its vintage Mellotron sound, on a pre-Indian air and rock sound with progressive tendency, nothing transcendent in it. "A Window to October" leaves on the same formatted diagram until the 2nd part where there an air break, chiselled makes prick the ear; a second station wagon with heavier riff and its solo which goes with peps. "The Forgotten" for a shorter title and on the same dynamic. "Skipping on Frozen Fire" and its more basic sound, bass forward, soft sounds, the guitar eyeing with its drawn notes, a little country even, calm passage, ballad and musical romance, softness in the ears; the impression of waves coming to touch the edge of the bank, it will take the eternal solo of Gregg to give a little relief to the title, to believe that all the titles are there to put and the voice and the guitar in front. "Jupiters Calling" with finally a prog title; the already planar intro (I thought I was going to hear STING just at the start on a mythical intro!) then a bluesy rhythm as you wish, a synth that is beautiful, very fat, very fruity too and I realize that we are on an instrumental! A superb piece. "LVX" is already attacking half of the album with the cover of a watered-down track which, paradoxically with more square bass, makes the song easy to listen to, even if we are far from the prog, we have a melodic atmosphere. "Pendragons Cove" and the second orchestral title for a variation of acoustic guitars with solo which suggests that we are coming back to melodic prog here. "Crimson Lights and Dark Waters" and the longest title; a worked intro, blues and symphonic, cool calm and filled with a captivating atmosphere, then the voice starts on a background of basic synth reinforcing the voice even more; we are still in a simple melodic sound, first break that revives the voice, a little parachuted again, an air that reminds me of the rhythm & blues, a little SADE even, yaouh where are we going?; go, a little TOTO commercial or ALAN PARSONS of recent times, it lacks pep when you know that it was stamped heavy prog. "I Am Divided" follows on the same dynamic bis repeated with here however a warmer, fruity, not energetic guitar just warm and the voice which wants to be endless with an obvious lack of drifts and other progressive expectations; it's a shame because I was expecting something else from this long title. "Possibilities" and a pleasant surprise with Allison's slightly more nervous voice and the guitar coming out with a very lively melodic riff. "Dream Currents" and 35 '' of happiness for a symphonic intro that leaves you dreaming, then paf back to its very melodic, very predictable and very repetitive SCARLET HOLLOW sound despite here a more low bass line; more rhythm & blues lines here, a mood song for one evening to put some notes in space; the synth solo here, in the last title explodes the rhythm a little, but back again to this linear atmosphere, can still be one of the best titles, a little fair. A good album to listen to in the car with the hood open.
 What if Never Was by SCARLET HOLLOW album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.66 | 10 ratings

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What if Never Was
Scarlet Hollow Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

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.

 What if Never Was by SCARLET HOLLOW album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.66 | 10 ratings

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What if Never Was
Scarlet Hollow Heavy Prog

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.

 Sanctuary by SCARLET HOLLOW album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Sanctuary
Scarlet Hollow Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars From Ventura, California hails this powerful quartet, found sometime around 2006 and consisting of female singer/keyboardist Allison Von Buelow, guitarist Gregg Olson (who was also resposible for the drum programming) and bassist Jeff Mack.Four year laters a first work appeared by the group, the 3-track EP ''Sanctuary''.

This short album opens with the atmospheric ''Mud'', where you can get the first taste of Scarlet Hollow's passionate Heavy Prog.Oriental electric guitars with a slight KING CRIMSON vibe mix with Von Buelow's crying vocals and a groovy chorus.With the second listening of the band's approach, the eponymous track, the sound begins to flirt with Prog Metal, but there is also a certain talent in composition by this group.Nice melodies combine with powerful guitar riffs and more laid-back breaks with Von Buelow's voice in great shape, relulting a good, diverse piece of music.The same motive follows the closing and longest track, ''The plan''.Groovy, dynamic and enrgetic Heavy Prog with discreet psychedelic passages in its smoother moments but also monster guitar riffing for the rest of the piece, close to the heavier looks of DREAM THEATER.All tracks are memorable, well-crafted but far from original within the genre's borders.

Some fresh, new blood in the Heavy Prog territory appeared with ''Sanctuary''.Three tracks full of massive riffs and atmospheric textures, that all trully enjoyable.Recommended stuff.

 What if Never Was by SCARLET HOLLOW album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.66 | 10 ratings

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What if Never Was
Scarlet Hollow Heavy Prog

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.

Thanks to aapatsos for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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