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Scarlet Anger: Freak Show

Welcome to that hotbed of all things metal, Luxembourg… Yeah, OK, that's not a sentence you've ever read before. Not even in an ever expanding metal world where all manner of countries have begun to produce some top notch bands. Hence any claims that Scarlet Anger are leaders of their country's thrash scene seem kind of overplayed. After all I'm the leader of the jazz fusion pop polka oompah band scene in the shed at the bottom of my garden (OK, my next door neighbour's cat writes better songs…). However there's hope, what with Scarlet Anger now being onto their third release (second full length and an EP) and having played festivals such as Durbury Rock and Extremefest. And it's easy to hear why, the mid-paced growl infested thrash they specialise in hitting with enough force that you can imagine it filling a field with angst ridden aggression.

The opening pair, "Awakening Elder Gods" and "Attack Of The Insidious Invader" (the lyrics are inspired by comic books of the eighties and nineties, hence the rather long and silly titles) make a mighty first impression where brutality is played out at a variety of tempos and with no little skill. Singer Joe Block commands the attention through his confident and varied attack, adding a real air of authenticity to proceedings, meaning it's a real shame that the early standards set are never really met again. Don't get me wrong, there isn't a poor track in sight on Freak Show and yet, those first pair aside, neither is there a standout.

Unfortunately, while the attack can be ferocious and energy levels high, everything else just feels a little flat. Expected riffs and solos the order of the day as the songs simply refuse to bite with the force intended. A perfect example is "An Unbelievable Story Of A Stupid Boy" (I did warn you about the song titles…), where the chorus lines seem to be repeated ad infinitum, and with a refrain shouting "Sad but true" over and over, unavoidable comparisons to the Metallica song of that name don't prove favourable.

If solid, unflashy thrash is your style, then Freak Show will certainly perk up your day. However with repeat listens offering up no little nuances, or passages to watch out for, those oft sought killer blasts peter out into glancing blows.

Track Listing
1. Awakening Of The Elder God
2. Attack Of The Insidious Invader
3. The Haunted Place-House of Lost Souls
4. Welcome to the Freak Show
5. The Abominable Master Gruesome
6. Through the Eyes of the Sufferer
7. The Thing Without a Name
8. On the Road to Salvation
9. The Unbelievable Story of a Stupid Boy
10. Deadly Red Riding Hood

Added: August 20th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Scarlet Anger Facebook page
Hits: 1519
Language: english

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