Album Review: Skarlett Riot – “Regenerate”
Heavyweight hitters like Gene Simmons have been lining up of late to proclaim that “ROCK IS DEAD” (whilst simultaneously raping its still-warm corpse with reissues and nostalgia tours). Thankfully, for necrophiles everywhere, no one seems to have told Skarlett Riot. Regenerate sees the quartet come out swinging, neatly annihilating clichéd second album jitters with a furious combination of thundering metalcore hooks, brutalist drumbeats and the voice of a woman scorned.
It wasn’t always like this. A decade of graft has seen the four-piece rise from a Scunthorpe schoolroom into ranked contenders. Along the way they’ve racked up plenty of good press, a solid fanbase and even Radio 1 coverage. If there’s been a downside it’s that an overtly commercial American rock sound hasn’t exactly helped them to stand out from the crowd. Yes, they’ve probably heard of Paramore. No they’re not The Dirty Youth.
Regenerate doesn’t represent a complete metamorphosis, but it does showcase the band’s hardest hitting material to date. Grim 21st century realities are faced head on with a fistful of fight songs for the Call of Duty generation. This is a record where bass lines and bloody noses are handed out in equal measure, by a bare-knuckle barrage of anthemic choruses and sugar-coated big audio dynamite.
Key to the band’s new found punching power is the performance by the eponymous Skarlett herself. Whereas once youthful enthusiasm and Katy Perry-esque vocals threw shade on the band’s chances of being taken seriously, this time round the angry-emo-goth-girl aesthetic is transformed into something darker and more threatening. No longer is Skarlett trying to walk in a rockstar’s boots. This time around the demonic diva has them laced up and is ready to stomp a mudhole through whoever gets in her way.
Ultimately, it’s just such ambition that should carry the band to greater heights. Already established, but surely frustrated, as a dependable opening act it’s clearly time for Skarlett Riot to step up main-event billing. Whether Regenerate represents a knockout blow, only time will tell, but put it this way… if rock IS dead, all hail the walking dead.