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Romania’s Scarlet Aura have had an impressive career trajectory to date. Formed just 6 years ago, they’ve already released four albums, with this new one, Stormbreaker’, being their fifth. And, along the way, they’ve shared stages with some of the scene’s very best, including Europe, Helloween, Sabaton and Rhapsody, as well as embarking on their own lengthy headline tour in China. With an ever-increasing fanbase, with their followers known as Scarlets in a symbol of band-fan solidarity, these Romanians have certainly made their mark in a relatively short period of time.

‘Stormbreaker’ continues ‘The Book of Scarlet’ saga, a concept that extends beyond the music to published prose, as vocalist Aura Danciulescu has written books to accompany each album in what is said to be a planned trilogy. Providing embellished and more expansive narratives than the albums alone allow, both evidently go hand-in-hand. And I guess Scarlet Aura’s music works effectively as a soundtrack to each accompanying book. ‘Hot ‘n’ Heavy’ was the first album in the trilogy, with ‘The Book of Scarlet - Ignition’ being the first concomitant volume. ‘Stormbreaker’ is the second record and, although press blurb makes no reference to the precise name of its companion book, it does mention that both album and novel are being released concurrently, so fans of Danciulescu’s fiction will be able to satisfy their fix.

So, the new album… fantastic! What I find instantly engaging about Scarlet Aura is the overwhelming feeling of familiarity within their compositions, yet they somehow convey a sense of their own identity through all the metal pastiche. So, yeah, once again Scarlet Aura have taken a whole ton of clichés but they’ve owned them and transformed tried-and-tested idioms for their own invigoratingly metallic use. And it all works so effortlessly well through an overriding emotional sincerity. There’s also a little bit of a progressive vibe here and there, where songs unfold in ways that are not necessarily how you'd expect. In this sense, there are some very nice surprises on the album, within the songs. The progression is subtle, but it's there. And it all sounds very natural. The songwriting and its execution feels one hundred per cent organic throughout, rather than any kind of forced or stilted metal worship. They know how to craft a very decent tune.

Danciulescu’s husky, semi-rasped delivery is a delight throughout the entire album. And drums and bass combine to invigorating rhythmic effect during the predominantly up tempo set of tracks, whereas guitar riffs, leads and solos ride those rhythms, often groove-infused rhythms, in the most energising of ways. This is metal as it was always meant to be - entertaining and exhilarating! Save for ‘High in the Sky’, which was already released last year as a single, that provides the album with a more down tempo, emotionally rich ballad, complete with some cathartic-inducing screaming. To be honest, when I first heard the single last year, I loved it but didn’t fully connect with the track in isolation. But, as part of the overall picture, posited where it is within the tracklist, I now understand exactly where it fits into the whole… and I love it even more. Now it makes perfect sense!

Scarlet Aura aren't trying to reinvent the wheel here, but they've succeeded in crafting a sparkling new wheel that shines in many different ways, and one that keeps their trad-metal engine moving along very smoothly indeed. They've already proven themselves masters of writing songs with catchy as hell melodies, compelling riffs, and vocal lines primed for mass sing-alongs at shows, and 'Stormbreaker' sees them continue with that aesthetic. This new one will hopefully propel them into wider recognition and greater success. Hugely fun and entertaining!
Silver City Records
Review by Mark Holmes
27th March 2020
1) The World Is Not Enough
2) Metal Hell
3) Battle Cry
4) Stormbreaker
5) Loose Cannon
6) I Am The One
7) High in the Sky
8) The Heretic
9) Daddy's lil Monster
10) A Blast From The Past
11) Scarlets United
"This is metal as it was always meant to be - entertaining and exhilarating!"