One day I had an envelope arrive from Nick Katona, and I duly copied all the CDs and put them on my playlist and didn’t really think any more of it. I had the made the assumption (yes, we all know what that means) that they were recent releases, so was somewhat amazed when I did some research on this album and discovered not only was it released back in 2012, but as far as I can tell it is still the only album they have ever put out! It took a little more digging to find out why that was the case, and apparently guitarist/producer Gregg Olson suffered a massive stroke the same year the album was released, which obviously had a major impact on him personally and on band itself. The good news is I have been looking at their Facebook page and it appears that not only has he recovered much better than anyone expected, but they are just putting finishing touches on the next album, which is something I am definitely looking forward to.

Scarlet Hollow are American, and with a sound like this they really could be nothing else. This is what Heart would sound like if they were into strong and heavy progressive rock, and if I was to liken singer/keyboard player Allison VonBuelow to anyone else in the scene then it would be to Lana Lane. The rhythm section is Jeff Mack (bass guitars and bass pedals) with Diego ‘GROM’ Meraviglia on drums, and together they make a mighty sound indeed. This is heavy prog with symphonic overtones, with superb songs and great performances from all involved. I had heard the name some years back but hadn’t previously come across the album and am stunned that I have been missing out for so long. There is a confidence throughout, and it certainly never comes across as a debut album, but instead of a band who know exactly what they are out to achieve, and the ability to get there.

Allison can sing delicately and gently when the needs arises, and there is a strong use of acoustic guitars throughout the album to provide different layers and textures, while there is a powerful use of different drum patterns. One is never sure where each song is going to lead, as they mix and meld heavy rock with prog to create something which is more than the sum of its parts. It may have taken me seven years to get to grips with the debut album from Scarlet Hollow, but hopefully the new album isn’t far away at all, and if you enjoy heavy progressive rock, with loads of shade and textures, combined with great songs and a powerful female singer then look no further.

kev rowland | 4/5 | prog archives