HOT ‘N HEAVY
Release: December 11, 2018
One of the best bands to hail from Romania is definitely Scarlet Aura, a melodic metal band fronted by the charming Aura Danciulescu. Founded in October 2013, the band has so far released 3 well received albums, toured all over the over in support of big names on the international metal scene, like Tarja Turunen in 2016 or Rhapsody Reunion in 2018, and have generally been heralded as the rising star of the East. They were also chosen to tour with Angra in North America this fall, but Visa issues prevented them from joining the tour. Nonetheless, they toured through Europe and Romania (with some dates in China in November and December) to promote their fourth effort, “Hot n’ Heavy”, whose official release was on December 11, via Sliptrick Records. The CD was made available one the 7th of September and you can find it at Scarlet Aura concerts, the band’s store, and digitally worldwide.
Mixing symphonic elements with a solid power metal feel, heavy guitars, pounding drums, and a strong female voice, “Hot n’ Heavy” feels like taking punch after punch but loving each hit.
This future becomes our past
Hail to youIn the name of my pain
Hot n’ heavy
Fallin’ to pieces
Glimpse in the mirror
You bite me I bite you back
Hate is evanescent, violence is forever
Light be my guide
Let’s go fuckin’ wild
Balkan Stars Project – To new horizons (bonus track)
The album is a relentless outpour of riffs, vocal hooks, and intense backing orchestration, from the atmospheric intro “This future becomes our past”, until the final notes of the bonus track “To new horizons” fade from your audio system. There is barely any room for mellow or emotional moments, so buckle up and enjoy the ride. The lyrics are darker and deeper, and, in the band’s own words, are ‘about finding your true meaning, how to be yourself, how to dare to be different and have no fear as one is never alone through music, the right to fight for what you believe in and also for love, for friendship and music’. To fully understand the story and the concept behind “Hot n’ Heavy”, check out the first book of the Scarlet Trilogy, “The Book of Scarlet – Ignition”, written by Aura Danciulescu, where you’ll find the lyrics of the songs combined with the tale of Scarlet. Together they are the perfect introduction into the amazing world of Scarlet Aura.
The rock anthem and single “Hail to you” is actually the first proper song of the album, and comes in full force with a very catchy chorus to it, chugging guitar riffs coupled with Aura’s raspy vocals, and an empowering message to the lyrics. The album picks up momentum and a bit more heaviness with the symphonic infused “In the name of my pain”, with some violin lines on the chorus, for an extra dose of dramatism, while the drums and guitar are fast-paced and deliver an up-tempo melody. The song also features a fierce guitar solo and would work great live. The chugging guitars are back again on the heavy title track “Hot n’ heavy”, which features a wicked guitar solo and a catchy chorus, while the mellow “Fallin’ to pieces”, and the groovy “Glimpse in the mirror” are both power ballad styled tracks, with melodic guitars riffs and impressive backing orchestration. Actually “Glimpse in the mirror” sounds like a lost Beyond the Black track, and wouldn’t feel out of place on “Heart of the Hurricane”.
The guitar driven headbanger “You bite me I bite you back” ups the heaviness factor with a harsh delivery of the lyrics and solid drumming in the background. Melodic but still quite hard and aggressive, especially considering the guitar work, “Hate is evanescent, violence is forever” is one of my favorite songs of the album. And it has a synth solo and a groovy breakdown in its second part. Symphonic elements make a comeback on the backdrop of “Silver city” and again it gets me thinking of Beyond the Black. The neat combination of violin and piano lines work perfectly together to add some extra melodies, harmonies, and depth to the vocal lines. “Light be my guide” is a beautiful piano-driven power ballad, emphasis on power, as the guitar is very much present in between the verses. “Let’s go fuckin’ wild” is an old school hard rocker, with an up-tempo melody to it that is guaranteed to get you moving. The album closes with the bonus track “To new horizons” by the Balkan Stars Project, a power metal song that will get your horns in the air in no time, and a good example of the Eastern European metal scene.
To me, “Hot n’ heavy” feel experimental as the band seem to try different things and see what works best for them. They are not experimenting with a single style, but sometimes they feel very power metal, other times a more symphonic metal while at others quite heavy metal. And while I generally love diversity on an album, as it keeps things interesting, this time is also a bit confusing, as you never know what to expect from one song to the next, or even within the same song. But still, this is a solid album, with a lot of power and energy, great guitar work and vocal melodies, and a neat flow to it.
Rating: 8 / 10
Aura Danciulescu – vocals
Mihai Danciulescu – guitars and vocals
Rene Nistor – bass
Sorin Ristea – drums