Released on October 20, 2016 (Independent)
And another dynamo of a band from down under, Austalia’s Skärlet shows much promise on their debut self-titled effort. This is not however, the AC/DC sound that dominates much of Australia’s independent rock scene but more of an ’80s Skid Row meets Guns N’ Roses assault. Fans of the post 1990-era of hard rock acts like Spread Eagle and McQueem Street (who were also arguably influenced by mid-’70s Rush) will most likely love Skärlet.
This is a brawny, kickass album that’s filled with raging grooves, wicked guitar heroics, and angrily shouted choruses. Axel Winter’s singing transverses the gutteral growls of mainstream metal, and Skärlet‘s songwriting is coming off as more mature than a band’s freshman release.
From the opening notes of the the album’s first title-track, we can hear what will be indicative of the of the album’s sound. Much of the lyrics seem to come from a dark place delivered by Winter’s shouting “She’s 18 living on the streets, angel by day and Skarlet at night.” There seems to be no note that he can’t hit.
Some of the other outstanding compositions on Skärlet include “Lay Down My Soul” which includes a fade-in to acoustics at the end. “Nightborn Fighter” displays guitarist Mitch O’Shea’s ability to write among the most catchy guitar riffs ever accompanied by strong vocal melodies. And “Last Of Our Kind” is another blistering track with great use of gang vocals and displays the pummeling of Tommy O’s bass drums.
Skärlet‘s debut is beyond sleaze. This is rough around the edges, hard gutter rock, that deserves a place in today’s hard rock scene. And it’s about time.
02. Never Too Much
03. Lay Down My Soul
04. Nightborn Fighter
06. Last Of Our Kind
07. One Way Ride
08. Talk of the Town
11. Black Or Blonde
Mitch O’Shea – guitars, backing vocals
Tommy- O – drums, vocals
Will Saw – bass, vocals
Axel Winter – vocals
Reviewed by Mark Horvath for Sleaze Roxx, November 2016