May 7, 2021
Four school friends founded a rock band in 2010. For many years they went through thick and thin together. Later, bassist Tom was replaced by Martin Shepherd. In the meantime, he too has left the band for private reasons. But otherwise Skarlett Riot can look back on an amazing constancy in the line-up. I was able to see the band live several times, most recently in Hamburg. Several EP’s and albums have been released since then. The most recent release was “Invicta”. Since I already liked the previous album “Regenerate” very much, I was naturally curious about the quartet’s latest output.
Oh man, what a banger the opener “Breaking the Habit” is. Hard riffing of the lower tuned guitars, supported by bass and drums. Then it continues, as usual from Skarlett Riot. with the clear vocals of Chloe. However, she has a hard time keeping up with this storm of sound. As usual? Not at all. Newcomer Tim Chambers already hints at his growl skills. More of that can be heard on “Gravity”. This is new for the band from the English county of Lincolnshire. Here the singer also sounds more powerful. She has accepted the challenge of instrumental power. The next surprise awaits the fan on “Black Cloud”. In this midtempo song Skarlett growls angry. While on the previous album she sang a bit harsher in places, this is a new quality. Obviously she was inspired by Tim. And she continues to demonstrate this new vocal self-confidence later on. Convincing to hear also in “Under Water”. But of course, the beautiful lead vocals that have always characterised the band’s sound are still predominant. “Stronger” is more reminiscent of the band’s earlier works. Although (or maybe because) the sound comes out of the speakers like an elemental force.
But the English can also be extremely soulful, as they impressively prove with the ballad “Into Pieces”. Especially the singer knows how to convince here, with a mixture of power and fragility. For me, this is one of the super-hits of the album. And despite the length of almost six minutes, it never gets boring to listen to. But that was just the calm before the storm. Already with “Not Alone” they pick up on old virtues again. A straight rocker, as it could have been found on earlier releases. The catchy chorus should create a great atmosphere, especially live. In the brilliant “To the Flames” the double bass attacks provide a lot of pressure. This song also wins with its sing-along chorus. Later, Tim and Skarlett take turns on the growls. And another hit, the stadium anthem “Falling”, I would not have expected from Skarlett Riot in this form. But this shows the grown songwriting qualities of the band. The bouncer “Human” starts with sound experiments but becomes a high-speed rocker just a few bars later. Here, too, you can clearly hear the band’s roots.
“Invicta” is the band’s best album so far. By a large margin. None of the predecessors was so powerfully recorded and so diversely composed. Although Skarlett Riot have tried out many new things, they have remained true to their origins. But this is also due to the fact that there have hardly been any changes in the line-up for years. This continuity is extremely pleasant. In the eleventh year of their existence, Skarlett Riot have clearly matured. And should be able to win many new fans with this album.
Skarlett Riot – Gravity (Official Music Video): https://youtu.be/jdI9sAVAvfo
Daniel “Danny” Oglesby – Guitars/Backing Vocals
Luke Oglesby – Drums
Chloe “Skarlett” Drinkwater – Lead Vocals/Guitars
Tim Chambers – Bass/Backing Vocals
- Breaking the Habit
- Black Cloud
- Under Water
- Cut the Ties
- Into Pieces
- Not Alone
- To the Flames