Started some five years ago by lead guitarist and songwriter Luc Vandessel, Scarved hails from Belgium playing classic melodic hard rock with a metal edge and a female voice, Caroline Verboven at the microphone. They return with their sophomore album Lodestone, my first experience with the band.
At the start I pretty much gave away the essential description of the Scarved sound: classic melodic hard rock with a metal edge. The band definitely reaches deep into the Eighties for their sound, maybe even to the Seventies with the deep vibe of the rhythm section reminiscent of Zeppelin and Sabbath. After this, you need to add very guitar-centered hard rock to the sound description. Mr Vandessel is a significant and accomplished traditional hard rock guitarist. His riffs are beefy and dramatic, his solos range from slick to soaring. Something else of note is the exceptional production and mix. The clarity is astonishing, notable how strong the bass line comes through on each song. As for Ms Verboven's vocals, she has a strong presence, deep yet melodic, but not always easily understood. Honestly, while her contribution is significant, I was rather ambivalent to her voice, then wondering how the songs might sound if song by male vocalist.
As for the songs, most are on the heavier side of melodic hard rock with that deep and booming rhythm section, sharp guitars, and thundering goove. Songs like Naughty Reflexes, Sweet Surrender, Heavy Foot Hero, and Fight For Justice deliver these things on so many levels, especially the guitar and bass lines. Returning to the strength of the bass line, significant examples are found within Sweet Surrender, especially in tandem with the guitar solo, and at the start and continuing through Convicted Woman, giving a sweet groove. Conversely, some songs simply lumber along. Toxic Rat Race and the title track Lodestone simply thump along, creating a disinterested listening experience. Somewhat similar in character is Heart Of Rock & Roll. Intended as something of an anthem or smoother rock ballad, emphasizing Verboven's voice, it's just bland and slow.
Essentially, I found Scarved's Lodestone a bit uneven in presentation. Some songs, as mentioned above, immediately grabbed my interest, while others called for hitting the skip button. Nevertheless, the musicianship is top-notch, and the production is sterling. Check out their album with curious interest, and maybe some slight skepticism. I think you'll like what you hear.
Essentially, I found Scarved's Lodestone a bit uneven in presentation. Some songs, as mentioned above, immediately grabbed my interest, while others called for hitting the skip button. Nevertheless, the musicianship is top-notch, and the production is sterling.
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