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Scarlet Anger > Martyr > Reviews > Felix 1666
Scarlet Anger - Martyr

Aggressive, unpretentious and compact - 80%

Felix 1666, April 2nd, 2024
Written based on this version: 2024, CD, Independent (Digisleeve)

An Artillery-esque riff kicks off “Martyr”, the third full-length of Luxembourg’s Scarlet Anger. After a hiatus of six years, the quintet from the Grand Duchy returns with seven songs. That’s not an impressive number, but the album clocks in at 35 minutes and therefore everything is fine in terms of quantity. But, as always, the crucial thing is called quality. Their first two albums were good, but the second one did not reach the debut’s level of aggression and velocity. Such signs of effeminacy always make me disgruntled and in my nightmares the early nineties appear, when all the old heroes ran away from thrash as if the genre suddenly had bad breath. But all-clear: Scarlet Anger don't switch back and forth between thrash and less massive styles, but rather pay homage to the classic, pure orientation of their genre. This is always most evident when the gentlemen push straight ahead and fire off jagged riffs. It was precisely such eruptions that once established thrash as the neck-breaking alternative to conventional heavy metal. They once gave thrash that special flavour and we may not forget that traditional metal had already tasted good.

However, Scarlet Anger do not act one-dimensionally. It therefore comes as no surprise that mid-tempo parts play an important role as well, catchy lines every now and then are not forbidden and it is a fact that the musicians are not allergic to one or the other melody. The sinister title track even houses an “ohoho” sing-along section – and it is not an embarrassing one. The guitar work of the song spreads a lot of expressive, slightly menacing vibes and the dynamic mid-part also leaves its mark impressively. In addition, of course, there are the powerful and charismatic vocals of Joe Black. And so the quintet convinces with a coherent overall appearance. Moreover, the songs form a very homogeneous album. With respect to their desired sound, Scarlet Anger have a clear vision and therefore they see no reason for “original” experiments. I appreciate this very much – it speaks for the band’s authenticity and integrity.

With the somewhat feeble “Divided” the dudes run out of breath temporarily, but fortunately it remains the only downer here. “Martyr” is a strong work with a clearly defined, sharp and powerful production. Scarlet Anger's output is no revolutionary masterpiece but definitely worth discovering. I cannot say that it shows any signs of innovation. But that’s no problem for an old school thrash maniac like me. I enjoy the highlight “No Time” with its cleverly interspersed calm sequences and almost any other track, because they are aggressive, unpretentious and compact. So if you are one of those who like albums like Artillery’s “By Inheritance”, Mortal Sin’s “Face of Despair” or Heathen’s “Breaking the Silence” should doubtlessly lend an ear to “Martyr”.