Scarlet Anger - Freak Show

10 songs
49:42 minutes
***** ****
Hänsel & Gretel / MIG


It took four long years before Luxembourgish thrash metal band Scarlet Anger finally gave another sign of life in form of a new record. It’s not that the band was to blame, but rather their former record label that went bankrupts and made it hard for them to get out of the contract. But that’s the past, and the long wait was well worth it, as Scarlet Anger show themselves from their best side on Freak Show which continues where they left off with the predecessor Dark Reign. The cover artwork, for which the band was responsible themselves, is also fantastic: it looks like an ancient pulp novel that may look more like horror punk than thrash metal, yet fits well with the equally trashy song titles.

There are no real surprises on Freak Show, as Scarlet Anger are still playing thoroughbred thrash metal the way it was popular a quarter century ago. Even though they are mostly inspired by the old masters, there are also occasional modern and groovy moments. The songwriting offers enough variety to allow the album to entertain throughout its fifty minutes running time. On the one hand, they love powerful tracks with a straightforward attitude (Attack Of The Insidious Invader, Through The Eyes Of The Sufferer,...), on the other hand they are also open for mid-tempo songs that never lack the necessary heaviness (The Haunted Place – House Of Lost Souls, On The Road To Salvation,...). Another standout moment comes with the fast and furious Welcome To The Freak Show which due to its guitar sound reminds of Slayer, and nevertheless never forgets its playful side. The more relaxed, nearly commercial The Abominable Master Gruesome is another highlight that draws parallels to Metal Church and also features an amazing guitar solo. The penultimate An Unbelievable Story Of A Stupid Boy is an unexpected ballad that I wouldn’t have expected from Scarlet Anger. I applaud the band for this emotional sounding experiment.

Freak Show is a very entertaining affair, no doubt about it, especially if the listener has a predilection for vintage thrash metal. This is an absolute must for fans of the genre. If you like your music more complex or progressive, you might want to sample it first. I am convinced that many people are more than happy that Scarlet Anger are back, and this with a truly amazing album that absolutely deserves a nine point rating.

Back to Reviews