Music speaks for itself, but when it comes to Toronto's Scarlet Sins, it shouts in your face.
From the inimitable cover of their debut independent eponymous effort—the alchemical symbol
for androgyny—to the 13 tracks of thick, undulating metallic rock inside, this is not your
typical band. The sinister, mysterious passion put forth on Scarlet Sins proves this quartet's
ambition is matched only by their technical prowess and undying aural allure.
Stylistically, Scarlet Sins' low-end rhythms intertwine with melodic verses and soaring choruses
to create concise, guttural epics. The band's spirited power and intense musicianship rides the
line between metallic thunder and straight-forward rock grace with ease. Tracks such as "Let Go,"
"Above Ground" and "Fire Inside" are imposingly patient; their mid-tempo pacing creates an enticing,
ambitiously gripping aura. Singer Sylvya NuVynska's vocals shift between grit-laden, throaty crooning
evidenced on "Drown" and the towering, emotional conviction behind ballad-esque "With You," impelled
by Cristina Bishop's guitar which alternates between crunchy drive and punching squeals, Tanya
Nicklaus' vociferous bass and drummer Elie Bertrand's forceful, incensed pounding.
Formed by Bishop in 2004, Scarlet Sins is the product of destiny; of personal relationships and
acquaintances finally uniting. Bishop's intuition compelled her to bring longtime friend, bassist
Tanya Nicklaus, into Scarlet Sins thanks to her thunderous delivery. Searching out the perfect
vocalist, fate intervened as Bishop and NuVynska met through similar channels, realizing their
personal musical styles were perfectly suited.
"I started the band while dealing with a traumatic event in my life," admits Bishop. "The only
comfort I found was in writing music. I poured myself into it and songs started flowing. That's
when I realized I had to start a band. Once I heard Sylvya's voice, I knew I was on the right track."
After auditioning a plethora of hopeful drummers, the band was solidified in mid-2007 with the
addition of Elie Bertrand, a seasoned performer sponsored by the likes of Pearl, Sabian, Los Cabos
and Sibertdrum. Scarlet Sins was complete; ready to commingle similar musical tastes and personal
preferences, thereby creating the Scarlet Sins sound.
Sonically, Scarlet Sins incorporates diverse interests such as metal, industrial, rock and classical
into their sound, intertwining these influences to create a unique sonic drive with prowess and
originality. NuVynska notes that these contrasting preferences are essential to the Scarlet Sins style.
"When we write, we allow each other to express ourselves. For the songs on this album, we took ideas
formulated by Cristina and then expanded the initial seeds of originality into some really compelling
ideas. It flowed easily because we just write for ourselves. We don't think of an audience sitting
there and how they're going to like it. When you write to please yourself, that's how songs turn into
something strong. We've all crafted this into something that stands alone. Cristina was the catalyst but
with all of us, it became Scarlet Sins."
"We're melodic; contemporary; we're trying to bring heavier music into a newer time," adds Bishop.
"Being heavy isn't about having double bass drums all the way through your songs though. Being heavy
is an intense melody; a feeling that you emote."
Still, Scarlet Sins admit that the professional intuition of producer Rich Chycki had a strong impact
on personifying that emotion into an album. He understood how to channel their expression; their feeling.
Utilizing his experience with acts including Rush, Aerosmith and Simple Plan, Chycki was able to capture
the essence of Scarlet Sins on tape.
"We met with a few people at the demo stage, but once we found Chycki, we knew he could bring out the best
in us," recalls Bishop. "He knew exactly what we wanted and the connection was natural."
Propelled by passion and instinct, Scarlet Sins is raw emotion. As both NuVynska and Bishop note, when
expressing personal experience through music, such a sincerity and honesty can only result in the dynamic
authority evidenced on their debut.
"I express myself though my lyrics. That's my therapy," says NuVynska. "Going through heartache and pain…we
all have issues we're going through. You learn from that instead of falling into it. You grow from it. It's
cathartic. That's the best thing about our music: everyone has their own interpretation. They get from it what
they want because music makes you feel a certain way."
"The songs may be inspired by sad things," concludes Bishop. "But we're taking negative life moments and making
something positive. That had to transfer to the album and with the help of Rich, I think it did. A kick ass song
is a positive result from a bad experience. You move past it. This album is a document of that; a moment in time