This Was Always Meant to Fall Apart

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Having barely survived the theft of all their equipment while on tour, and the departure of their bassist following a nearly lethal brain clot, it's no surprise that 2006's This Was Always Meant to Fall Apart finds the tragedy prone Scarlet in a particularly chaotic state. Of course this frazzled state of mind both fuels and complicates their creative output, and the album in question couldn't be more glaringly uneven because of it. The layered guitar swirls and electronic effects presented on fetching opener "Obsolete" are as promising as they are fleeting, since, for the vast remainder of the LP, Scarlet concentrate their efforts on technically impressive, but frankly spastic and hook-deprived bursts of mathematical metal ("Swarm Manifesto," "Antibionics," "Simply Carcinogen," etc.). This is both odd and disappointing because when they actually choose to explore more linear harmonic patterns, clear standouts like "On Fire," "Plastic Saints" (both using minor keys to evoke sublime desperation) and, to a lesser degree, the more hopeful "The Embrace of a Paramedic," conjure up a truly satisfying range of believable emotions. They also do what most other tracks on this LP can't, and that's help Scarlet stand out among the teeming metal masses; perhaps this is a direction they can pursue on their next record, if distractions from further unforeseen incidents and never-ending personnel turnover finally stop plaguing them.

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