Spain’s Rosy Finch sound like they’re calling down fire from heaven on their ethereally-oriented but grim, gritty determination-wracked new album Scarlet. On “Lava,” guitarist/singer Mireia Porto proclaims that “the earth becomes fire and dies,” and her grim, punk-ish determination serving as the leading edge of what feels like a crushing, sliding mountain of huge and sludgy but poignant and direct riffs makes that proclamation feel strangely true, like you’ve just gotta look outside just in case there really is a careening wall of fire or something.
The album’s relentlessly fiery groove even while scraping the most forebodingly sludgy depths delivers that feeling of the persistent strength of flames licking at the sky. The band veer across the spectrum from slightly more meandering and contemplative, stoner-rock style riffing on lengthy opening track “Oxblood” to vicious and blasting, chest-crushing metallic attacks on “Amaranto,” which also sports long vocal roars from Porto, whose stunning range follows right along with the riffs. Her vocals and the rest of the performances on that track and elsewhere pack a feeling of gruelingly intense passion, and absolutely everything sounds like it’s on the line as those direct, fierce guitar blasts ring out over and over.
The spellbinding Scarlet feels like it features the ferocious heaviness of the most crushing death doom right alongside the anxiety of noise punk, the latter of which probably gets its best expression in Porto’s wide-ranging and often vitriolic vocals. While the overall sonic portrait delivers super heavy low-end riffing, with an always utterly beastly tone that feels like an avalanche of flaming stones falling to the earth, on a more micro level, there’s a fierce tension in just about every note. Scarlet packs the strength of suffocation with the drawn out energy to really feel every moment of the way down.
Even when the crushing fury gets gruelingly dramatic at moments like the song “Vermilion,” that fierce and sinisterly determined, crushing groove remains at the core. It’s venomously hypnotic — really, that aspect of the mood probably could not be overstated.
Porto has shared in a quote accessible on the album’s Bandcamp page that Scarlet is “about aspiring to be more and to do more” and “about the idea that nothing will remove the pain but nothing can detain you,” and that feeling really feels quite masterfully expressed here. The perhaps surprisingly empowering-feeling mental image of the grim, stern-faced, forward determination in the face of the always heels-snapping bellowing riff and drum attacks feels hard to shake.
Check out the music below!