CD REVIEW: Hiding Scarlet - Hiding Scarlet
By Cyrus Rhodes - 02/24/2012 - 12:54 AM EST
Artist: Band: Hiding Scarlet
Album: Hiding Scarlet
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal and Art Rock
Sounds Like: Hiding Scarlet, Evanescence
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: P&O, Social Machine, Fractured
Weakness: More Celtic Instrumentation, More Solos
Hiding Scarlet is a 4 piece band from Lancaster Pennsylvania. Their debut self-titled CD entitled was released in 2011 and features Amy Fleming (vocals), Tonna Carbaugh (violin, Piano), Eric Dieter (guitar) and Brendan Joyce-Stengle (Bass). For the record - Scarlet is the color of shame, guilt, sin. "The Scarlet Letter" was about a woman who committed adultery and had to wear a scarlet letter A on her dress as a mark of shame.
The CD methodically lifts off with ”White Harlot” a dynamic intro piece that delivers tricky syncopation against well-placed violin, aggressive guitar riffs and hypnotic vocal groove from Fleming. This first piece showcases an impressive balance between Progressive Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Theatrical Metal and even Celtic elements. Track 2 delivers more of the same raw intensity with “P&O” an aggressive follow up piece that slams your ears into submission with its two pronged guitar-violin attack, no holds barred lyrical content and hooky chorus. Track 3 “Esterillos” delivers a full throttle rock groove with impending guitar doom, catchy chorus and heartfelt vocal intensity that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track for track the CD doesn’t let up, and as the CD slowly unfolds I can hear influences that remind me primarily of a more progressive version of Evanescence on steroids with a Celtic aftertaste. Equally as impressive is the impressive guitar virtuoso from Eric Dieter as he covers a wide range of guitar playing styles: from Acoustic-Celtic, Heavy Metal and even a bit of Classical. The music is highly original and has everything you would expect from a high octane hard rock release. However this band is not so easy to pigeonhole with its impressive combination of traditional Heavy Drop-D Metal with a foreboding Celtic flair. The songs themselves are mysterious, compelling and packed to the hilt with dark intensity and thought provoking lyrical content. Fleming’s vocal style works well with respect to this style of music at times and she showcases a strong and confident vocal ability. Fleming’s voice and passion is the best thing about this production – he definitely let’s it all hang out on all songs. It’s not total over the top cookie monster-ish, but is still very intense and pasionate. Dieters guitar playing definitely holds its own dishing out a few very impressive chord progressions and speed riffs that will make your head spin. From mesmerizing “Ballad of the Bipolar” to dynamic “Fractured” to melodic “Father of Nation” to striking “Social Machine” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 12 “Other Side of Six” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
Many song s are a bit winded for me – however due to the genera I cannot fault the band for that. It’s quite amazing what this band has done with just 5 instruments. However to go with the Orchestral Metal format perhaps a few more caltic instruments would make this experience just a tad more exotic. Things like Cello, Strings, Flute, Organ, Mandolin, Harp, Bodhran would make this CD absolutely breathtaking. I also wish I heard a few more guitar solos, or just solos in general.
Hiding Scarlet is a compelling musical statement from start to finish. Its strength – the amazing musical fusion of many different musical styles, song for song intensity and solid musical performances from this impressive 4 piece. The music is progressive, highly original, intense, heavy and dark. The messages and vocal intensely are thought provoking and maycause your ears to bleed. Kudos goes out to the intensity, passion and overall vocal presence of lead singer Amy Fleming. But also to the behind the scenes work from guitarist Eric Dieter. Indeed Dieter and Fleming make a deadly combination. All in all this CD shines with the musical brilliance comparable to proceless gem. Need I say more?
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