Review: “Endless” by Scarlet Dress

Scarlet Dress are preparing to release their debut full length album “Endless”. Following successful singles “Lucid” in 2014 that gathered 90k worth of streams via itdjents.com’s YouTube channel, “Periscope” in 2016 with a guest appearance from Jeff Pogan of Suicidal Tendencies and sandwiched in between them EP “Prose Edda” in 2016. Comprising Multi-instrumentalist Sushant Vohra who hails from Mumbai India and vocalist Michael Rodriguez from Albuquerque in the United States, the band is definitely one for the modern age. Mixed by Drew Bender at Bender Recording and Mastered by Joe Lewis Brown, what does “Endless” sound like?

There is no 7 minute epic Progressive Metal track to follow on “Lucid”, the longest tune doesn’t quite make the 5 minute mark. What we get instead is some more succinct tracks and the whole album clocks in at just 31 minutes, something unheard of for more Progressive releases. Some bright Progressive lead work builds into the DJent heavy smattering 91 second introduction piece “Onset”. It’s a fine instrumental that simply begs for the breakdowns to continue but instead bursts into “Nucleus”, a Tech-Metal onslaught of throat shredding cut glass unclean vocals from Rodriguez against a backdrop of bouncy DJent riffs at a driven pace. The layering of some lead flourishes and tapping works well and helps set an eerie dark atmosphere. A slow down to an almost downtempo pace while breaking up the vocal with some mid-scream digitization before a haunting piano melody comes in is a glorious touch in into the final verse. “Limerence” introduces some clean vocals that showcase Rodriguez range, while continuing the unrelenting Tech-Metal riffs. There is a melancholic atmosphere on this one that undercurrents the whole track and in contrast to the more aggressive tones of the opener finds a nice balance. It showcases the Progressive heart while keeping everything much more condensed.

“Rapture” delivers a rhythmic pounding of DJentisms while lyrically questioning what it is to be human with the same balanced vocal approach that was enjoyed in “Limerence”. The clean vocals have an aching quality to them while not overdoing anything. The mix plays an interesting part in the clean vocals in that they are buried in the mix rather than floating on top of it and its the guitars that are very much at the forefront. “Words Whispered” continues the depth of emotion of “Endless” and introduces some vocal layering that uses the cleans to provide a backing vocal to the uncleans, which is a rare treat as most bands tend to do things the opposite way around. The lyrical approach is deeper than any ocean. The instrumental break of 51 second “Interlude” is a building sound that ushers in the final trio of tunes and a trio of guest appearances. Featuring Jordan Chase of Canadian Post Hardcore quartet Shreddy Krueger fame in what might seem like a strange collaboration “Withdrawn” builds its guitar work in Progressive waves that are delivered with an energetic pace. Chase gives bright and brave vocal performance that delivers a lot more in the way of vocal contrast in the albums longest track. That higher register is in stark contrast to the juddering Tech-Metal pounding of the bridge sections and lead punches that make the guitar sound like buried electronics.

Instrumental “Evade” sees a guitar solo part from from Alan Rigdon of The Artificals and formerly of ERRA that is perhaps a collaboration that you could envisage before starting out. It’s a bright Periphery inspired tune that wouldn’t be out of place on ERRA releases of the past, with perhaps the exception of the current release “Neon”. It sweeps through guitar progressions and Metalcore overtones with a sense of harmony and infinite natural beauty. Josh Ford of The Luminary adds charm to “Empty Breathing” in a song that is different for Scarlet Dress. It’s an emotive cut that essentially tells a love story with the backing of a melodic Metalcore instrumentation. It’s a far more straightforward tune than the more Progressive and technical elements of the earlier material but it is a fine tune in it’s own right. The influence of the likes of Miss May I and Like Moths To Flames on Sushant Vohra is apparent with his guitar covers of tunes of them and that really does shine through on this final cut. As a whole with “Endless”, Scarlet Dress find the balance for their sound that others struggle with. The Progressive side is never drawn out and the Metalcore is never over played, an album with plenty going on and great re-listen appeal [8/10].

Track list

1. Onset
2. Nucleus
3. Limerence
4. Rupture
5. Words Whispered
6. Interlude
7. Withdrawn (ft. Jordan Chase of Shreddy Krueger)
8. Evade (ft. Alan Rigdon of The Artificals, ex-ERRA)
9. Empty Breathing (ft. Josh Ford of The Luminary)

“Endless” by Scarlet Dress is out on 28th February and available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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