Scarved – Flashback (Sleaszy Rider Records)

Sunday, 16th May 2021
Rating: 8/10

Establishing themselves in 2012, Belgian act Scarved blend influences from the classic hard rock/metal and the modern rock scene on their third album Flashback. The quartet possess the requisite knowledge and playing abilities to develop their songwriting and sound in a way that is quite catchy, bluesy at the heart while containing enough musicianship and groove aspects that the hooks are undeniable throughout. All the way down to the production and tones, you get this organic, on the floor atmosphere that comes from the 70’s/early 80’s when bands like Deep Purple, Girlschool, and Motörhead ruled the landscape.

The bass/drum parts for “Schizofrenic” for instance lock into this groove that’s undeniable for Caro Verboven as a singer to just drive home a simplified chorus – her voice coming from that classic, powerhouse mold with the right soulful inflection to drive home any melody she chooses. Certain songs have a bit of that NWOBHM-vibe – guitarist Luc Van Dessel churning out those headbang-oriented main riffs and building them out to into a mid-tempo anthem as “Poison Kiss” leans heavily into that Judas Priest mold through its solid twists and turns, including an infectious, emotive lead break. All these musicians get specific times to let loose and flex their seasoned chops. Check out the progressive mechanics from bassist Vincent De Laat and drummer Kjell De Raes on “Head Over Heels” that properly brings up some Iron Maiden/Thin Lizzy interplay even with the supplementary keyboard aspects lurking in the background. Scarved aims to keep their sound pure, honesty, and from the heart – locking into killer riffs and hooks, driving them home, then moving into the next musical idea fresh. Adept at a tender power ballad like “Lost in Space” as easily as the normal straightforward rockers, the ten songs roll by in an effortless fashion – probably ensuring return playbacks very quickly.

Flashback ideally hits home for the fans of classic hard rock/metal from the 70’s and 80’s – so if you love that sound and style, especially from the UK/European bands of that era, Scarved more than adequately fills that aural niche.

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