Scarlet Horizon are a ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) inspired band from Bejing, China, existing out of ZERO on vocals, 曜 (You) on guitar and backing vocals, 覚 (Satori) on bass and 亚弥 (Ayase) on drums.
In 2016 they released their first single “Unstoppable”, and since they followed that up with the mini-album “MIST” in 2017 and the digital single “Roche’s Prophecy” in 2018. Last year, in 2019, they have released their first full album named “7”, which consists out of eight (technically seven, but we’re counting the intro as well) powerful tracks, of which one is a collaboration project with the former lead guitarist of NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST, Cazqui. (Who is now the man behind 猫曼珠-nekomanju- and Cazqui’s Brutal Orchestra.)
Additionally to being inspired by Japanese music while being from China, they have made the decision to create their songs with English as their primary language, thus making their works a lot more accessible for international listeners.
Their earlier works already made use of this theme, but so does “7”. So if the language barrier of the Asian music industry has ever been an obstacle for you, Scarlet Horizon have got you covered…
Are you ready for “7”? Then let’s go!
EPISODE 00 – INTRO
While the introduction isn’t technically included in our seven songs-tracklist today, it is physically present on the album. And rather than a powerful intro you often hear kicking off albums in this genre these days, Scarlet Horizon opted for a different kind of introduction. More simple with the use of a door opening and closing and tuning a guitar, much like the preparations made before a practice session or live show, but it does roll straight into our first song of the album.
EPISODE 01 – CASH
“CASH” immediately starts off with the power you expect from a metal band, simultaneously setting the mood for the rest of the album with it’s heavy vocals which highlight a desire everyone has to a certain degree: cash. (But, if we all got our hands on large amounts of cash, wouldn’t it decrease the value of it, hmm?)
While ZERO’s vocals remain in the deep, growling and screaming styles, the second vocals provided by 曜 (You) highlight the big contrast in Scarlet Horizon: ZERO is the man to go for for the heavy vocals, while 曜 (You) has a wonderful clean range that is a direct contrast to their main vocalist. Despite the differences in their vocal styles, they do manage to give a lot of dimension to their songs with this combination, and that is something we’ll continuously see throughout this album.
EPISODE 02 – AFTER PARTY (FEAT. CAZQUI)
“AFTER PARTY” is without a doubt the song that got Scarlet Horizon on the radar of many fans of ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) and J-Metal, due to the inclusion of Cazqui. But aside from this addition “AFTER PARTY” is also the unique track on this album for a different reason: while the other songs are rather gloomy and dark-themed, “AFTER PARTY” is the complete opposite with both it’s lyrics and it’s more upbeat tone and tempo. If you’ve ever wondered what a “party” and “heavy metal” sound like while combined, this is the answer to your question.
Cazqui’s inclusion as a guest-guitarist shines through immediately because of his signature style, which if you have listened to NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST’s works before is instantly recognizable. Additionally the combination from ZERO’s growls and screams mix super well with 曜 (You)’s clean vocals, which once again give an extra layer to the song as a whole.
EPISODE 03 – LAZY NIGHT
The opening sentence of “LAZY NIGHT” is one that many of us can relate to, I’m sure. Because don’t we all just want to lie on the couch and watch TV sometimes?
The chaos is brought down a little with the introduction of this song, but it picks up to it’s previously set tempo soon enough. Forget about that lazy night you were planning here, because “LAZY NIGHT” is actually one of the more “aggressive” songs found on this album, partially due to there not being any vocals from 曜 (You) this time that cause this song to end up on the heavier side of the genre instantly.
EPISODE 04 – EAT ME
While “LAZY NIGHT” already set the tone of aggression, “EAT ME” takes this concepts and amplifies it even more, but in a different way. While “LAZY NIGHT” relied on it’s instrumentals for it’s aggressive approach, “EAT ME” puts it’s aggression into words. Literally.
曜 (You)’s vocals return for an extra layer to the words, which – despite being quite short lyrics wise – are just as aggressive as it’s instrumentals due to the comparison of a lamb ready to be eaten.
Are you ready to make a deal with the devil?
EPISODE 05 – SEED
Every artist has a “flagship” type of song in their arsenal, and for Scarlet Horizon that song is “SEED”.
“SEED” embodies everything the band has to offer, from ZERO’s powerful growls to 曜 (You)’s melodic clean vocals to the skills from the guitarists, bassist and drummer. Showcasing the powerful sound of their instrumentals through the chaotic scenario described in the lyrics.
It’s no surprise that “SEED” has not only been chosen as the leading music video for this album, but it’s also the band’s very first music video. Filmed in the woods with some rural buildings as the décor, “SEED” tells the story of a cult in a visual format while combining their metal sound with their djent influence – an influence that returns throughout the entire album.
EPISODE 06 – DANCING ON THE ROOF
“DANCING ON THE ROOF” takes a different approach than the tracks before it, with a buildup to a more sinister sound rather than going for the chaotic style that we have been presented with so far. The use of the dual-vocals is executed wonderfully through the power of “conversation”, where ZERO takes the role of the devil inside of you, whispering into your ear to not hesitate, while 曜 (You)’s vocals are the complete opposite, showing the human side of this conversation, knowing the devil is waiting below.
EPISODE 07 – TO START OVER AGAIN AND RESET
“TO START OVER AGAIN AND RESET” shows an entirely different side of the group that we have not seen in other songs throughout “7”, no matter how diverse those were. Making a lot more use of djent and hip-hop, the band shows that they’re capable of more than just screamo and heavy metal. But since the main genre is heavy metal, don’t make yourself any illusions about the amount these influences form their work.
With words that are true to the title of the song, you should reconsider. Your demons are keeping a hold on you, and you’ve sold your soul to evil. Do you have any chance of starting over and resetting?
While the main part of the song is still a higher speed and filled with aggression – and thus matching the pace and theme of the album as a whole -, it ends on a calmer djent-style which rolls back perfectly into the introduction track if your music player is set to repeat the album, completing the theme of “starting over” that was already laid out by the title.
As a whole, “7” is an album that doesn’t knock on your door, it will immediately burst through it. The techniques the members use in their performance are a fresh take on a very familiar genre which knows no borders in terms of sound or language – because as I stated before, the band creates their lyrics in English to also appeal more to international fans. Their social media presence is also mostly in English rather than their native language of Chinese.
While you occasionally hear an accent or a grammatical mistake, they’re both easy to ignore because of how interesting their music really is.
While “7” has a physical release, it is probably easier to get your hands on a digital copy of the release through the Bandcamp page of the group. Unless you have a connection in China that can ship it to you, of course. 😉
Are you interested in supporting the band by getting your own copy of the release? Here is something to get you started:
01. EPISODE 00 - INTRO
02. EPISODE 01 - CASH
03. EPISODE 02 - AFTER PARTY (FEAT. CAZQUI)
04. EPISODE 03 - LAZY NIGHT
05. EPISODE 04 - EAT ME
06. EPISODE 05 - SEED
07. EPISODE 06 - DANCING ON THE ROOF
08. EPISODE 07 - TO START OVER AGAIN AND RESET
Artist: Scarlet Horizon
Release: 7 (album)
Release date: October 27, 2019
ISRC number: 3616 4016 8661 2
雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind both Arlequin Magazine and Arlequin Photography.
She started in 2009 as a photographer with Arlequin Photography, but due to a growing interest in journalism, translation and behind-the-scenes work in general the project burst out of it's seams in 2021 and expanded through the addition of Arlequin Magazine.
雪 (Yuki) is a native Dutch speaker and maintains both the English and Dutch sections of both Magazine and Photography with original content, translations and photography as well as all the behind-the-scenes work for both websites.
She speaks Dutch, English, Japanese and German.