So I had my doubts for a while, mainly because I'm just not fond of cover albums. Nothing can touch the originals and sometimes bands make very bad choices for covers. For Scarlet Aura, this is not just a cover album, but a tribute to the great ones they have grown up with.
Let's introduce the band first, for those not familiar with them. Scarlet Aura is a melodic hard rock band from Romania, led by vocalist Aura. They released two albums and a few singles, shared stages with Tarja,Gotthard, Europe, Accept and many others. This year, they decided to release this cover album, looking back at the music they grew up with. In all aspects, Scarlet Aura is a "rock chick fronted band", founded and fronted by Aura Danciulescu.
The album opens with Europe's 'The Final Countdown', which in my opinion is not a very good move. But I guess that's something personal, I just can't stand that song anymore. I have to say that Scarlet Aura's version isn't bad. It rocks, that's for sure but I'm not convinced yet. Next up is 'Breaking The Law' by Judas Priest, another song that you just can't equate. Here the band does a pretty good job, but I still feel that it can get better.
And it does. 'Don't Talk To Strangers' by the late great Dio is a first highlight, a very well executed and emotional version. A little later, there is another strong adaptation of Iron Maiden's 'Wasted Love', which makes me feel that ballads are Scarlet Aura's strong point. On the powerful version of hard rock's greatest ballad, 'If I Close My Eyes Forever' by Lita and Ozzy, Scarlet Aura does an excellent job, but here too, you just can't topple the original.
However, perhaps 'Zombie' by the Cranberries sounds a lot better in a hard rock setting than in the somewhat whiney version of the original. Surprisingly, this is one of the best covers on this whole album. 'Eye Of The Tiger' also gained a lot of power and 'We're Not Gonna Take It' comes close to the party-metal feel of Twister Sister itself. The album closes with 'All We Are' by Doro and all of a sudden I miss Doro. Again, well executed but nothing beats Doro.
In all, this is an enjoyable album with some of the greatest rock songs ever, brought by a well attuned band that takes things seriously. The only thing is, it makes me either long for the original or curious about Scarlet Aura's own songs. I will look into those soon. Is 'Memories' a recommended album? Well, sure, why not? It's well done. It contains some of your favorites and it's some bloody potent hard rock. Try it out, who knows.
The single 'The Beast Within Me' provides me with a decent idea of what Scarlet Aura's own songs sound like. This single, featuring Florin Costachita, is actually the best song I've heard from this band today. It's a classic old school hard rock song, best to be compared with Doro and Lita, also containing some harsh male vocals.
There are also two covers added to this single, two of the best ones: 'Don't Talk To Strangers' and a live adaptation of 'If I Close My Eyes Forever'. In all, this single is an excellent way to get acquainted with this band.