Scarlxrd - 'Immxrtalisatixn' Album Review
My first introduction to Scarlxrd (Scarlord) came by accident, as I was walking to watch Lewis Capaldi on the Festival Republic Stage at Reading 2018 I passed Scarlxrd doing a set in ‘The Pit’. Despite being on the very periphery of the crowd, the energy was clear, the bass of Scar’s trap/metal fusion instrumentals shook the floor and I thanked my lucky stars I wasn’t caught in a mosh pit that chaotic. This was a set unlike any other I had seen before and left me almost missing the start of Capaldi!
Scarlxrd, aka Marius Listhrop hails from Wolverhampton, England and fits into a niche genre combining elements of trap and heavy metal. His rise to stardom has been rapid with his first major projects releasing in 2016, he now sits with over 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify and 7 full length albums to his name before this release. IMMXRTALISATIXN (Immortalisation) is Scarlxrd’s 8th album and delivers no less than what listeners have come to expect from one of his projects, heavy bass instrumentals with Scarlxrd’s signature screamed vocals over the top.
Despite my early intrigue I don’t believe the quality of Scar’s music is as strong as the image he perceives and the passion and energy he possesses. Having listened to previous releases notably INFINITY the 7th album that was released earlier this year, and now IMMXRTALISATIXN, in a way once you’ve heard one song, you’ve pretty much heard them all. Although Scarlxrd performs and creates music in a fashion that few others do, he shows a lack of versatility when he screams his way through the vast majority of this 24 track, 1 hour and 8 minute long album. He does tone it down on the very rare occasion like in the opening half of the track 'GXLD’ but in comparison to others in the emo rap/trap game who deliver toned down and lazy style vocals like Lil Uzi Vert, Juice WRLD, and the late Lil Peep, he falls far short of their abilities to create true trap bangers that can be rapped along with and not just violently moshed to. The project as a whole is far too bloated, 24 tracks is a hugely long time to hold someone’s attention especially when the flashes of good are so few and far between. The songwriting is generally very melodramatic and surface level which leaves important topics such as mental health lost amongst shallow imagery of money, drugs and being an outsider in a world that ‘can’t relate’.
Despite all this, Scarlxrd’s dedication to his sound and image cannot be faulted and for fans of his music this album will be exactly what they’ve been waiting for be it only a short while after his last release. His energy and passion is clear at all times, making for an insane live spectacle as I have witnessed first hand. There’s even some decent quality material on the album, the track ‘ASK’ stands out in particular with an angelic soul sample to start, the track then evolves into organised chaos with a steady beat and bass line, and a sample not too dissimilar to that of Jaden Smith’s Icon looped in the background. It feels well thought out and encompasses elements of genres Scarlxrd rarely touches on. The samples are frequent and often add well to their respective tracks and offer some respite from Scar’s vocals. The instrumentals are also incredibly sinister and create the desired effect on the listener much easier than the ‘shock factor’ lyrics tend to do.
All in all, if you love Scarlxrd this will deliver on most of your desires. If you come at it from any other angle you will have to sift through lots of average and bad moments in order to get to the bits of good which I believe this album genuinely does have.
Listen to the album in full below: