Skarlett Riot – 'Invicta' Album Review
1. Breaking the Habit
3. Black Cloud
4. Under Water
6. Cut the Ties
7. Into Pieces
8. Not Alone
9. To The Flames
I’ve been a fan of Skarlett Riot for a little while now – I reviewed their Bournemouth gig for this very site a couple of years ago (back when gigs were still things that we could go to), and I’ve given their previous album “Regenerate” a fair few listens. Then they released “Human” as a single last year, and since then I’ve been eager to see what they had been working on, and whether this album would be an absolute banger or whether it would struggle to maintain their level of brilliance that I knew they were capable of.
So with a little trepidation, I pressed play on the first track and relaxed into my headphones to see what they were able to serve up this time, and I’m very glad that I did! That opening track “Breaking The Habit” is a good song, and also really showcases the amazing production and performances that power this album from start to finish. It’s not the best song on the album (we’ll get to that later), but it’s certainly not a slouch. Though if I’m honest, I’d have opened with “Gravity” (the second track) as it takes everything that is great about the first track and turns it up to eleven.
And at eleven is where this album stays. Following “Gravity” with “Black Cloud”, “Under Water” and “Stronger” is a superb choice, with each song having that beautiful Skarlett Riot mix of great riffs, beautiful lead vocals and angry backing vocals, a mix that has worked so well for them in the past. And then the album steps up another notch again, with the riff-tastic “Cut The Ties” providing a mid-album high point. It’s rare that you get six tracks into any album and are still as invested as you were at the beginning, but it’s a pleasure to say that is the case here.
But does it maintain? Can the rest of the album keep up the pace that has so entertained me for six songs? Track seven is the obligatory ballad – “Into Pieces”. Now I’m a tough customer to entertain with a ballad, especially if I’ve spent the previous half hour headbanging like mad, but this is a beautiful song that never outstays its welcome – mostly because it makes the sensible choice to bring the entire band in by three minutes into the song, allowing it to build out in different ways than it would have done if it remained a song just powered by guitar and vocals.
“Not Alone” is back to the strong, heavy yet melodic feel of the rest of the album, featuring choruses that are easy to singalong with – I can imagine this absolutely killing it in a packed gig! At this point I was genuinely believing that we might make it all the way to the end of this album without any bad songs whatsoever.
Luckily, the streak doesn’t break. “To The Flames” is brilliant, “Falling” is the closest the band get to a chart-topping stadium anthem and “Human” has been on my playlist so long that it already feels like an old friend, which means that it is a perfect album closer.
As you can probably tell if you’ve read this far into the review,, this album is a certified banger (as the kids probably don’t say anymore). A worthy follow up to their previous long player, it showcases their strengths and lets the band evolve in new ways while still staying true to their roots and sounding as much like Skarlett Riot as they ever have before. In fact, this album deserves to be the one that pushes Skarlett Riot into the mainstream Metal scene – it’s that good. If you are already a fan, then you absolutely cannot be without this album, and if you’ve never heard of them, then this is the perfect album to try. This album is all killer, no filler, and has the potential to be on my albums of the year list at the end of the year!
Website - http://www.skarlettriot.co.uk
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/skarlettriotuk
Review - Michael Braunton