ALBUM REVIEW: Scarlxrd – Immxrtalisatixn

Release Date: October 4th 2019
Label: Island Records


Whilst British trap metaller Scarlxrd has been known for his work rate, releasing two albums in one year sees the one man army push his distinct and polarising style to breaking limits.

His second full-length of the year and eight overall, ‘Immxrtalisatixn’, extends the usual brief run-time to create an arduous listen.

Starting off strong, ‘XMG’ delivers lurking low bass lines and a fast yet clean delivery, building on the promise shown on previous LP, ‘Infinity’. Keeping at his usual breakneck pace, it’s not long before industrial flavoured beats are causing chaos alongside scathing lyrics spat at rapid-fire speed.

Following on from the claustrophobic opener, ‘UP, UP, UP’ sees an expansion upon the clean delivery hinted at, with the inclusion of a wonky synth line to offset the glitching and aggressive beat. Again, breaking up the ramping dynamics on display, ‘MXNDAY MXRNING’ leans on a soft and floating piano for its lead melody.

Showcasing that his sound can evolve and not rely on shock value, the first half of the record sees a more experimental Scarlxrd than previous efforts. With tracks such as ‘Nikeface’ delving into Timbaland style beats, as well as working with spaces to strengthen to his vocal delivery.

Not completely changing his sound, ‘GXING THE DISTANCE’ refines the unique soundscape with tight bursts of barked vocals, contorting beats, and buzzing synths to deliver a breathless run through of the Scarlxrd sound.

After a solid first half, the record falls flat with most tracks bleeding into one another. Relying on frenzied blasts of screamed raps in a similar flow, the concluding twelve tracks lack the impact of songs such as ‘NX LXVE’. There are some standout moments in the second act, such as the brass led ‘I WANT 1 BILLIXN PXUNDS’ and the chip tune inflected ‘I DXN’T NEED TX KNXW’, but sadly they are few and far between.

As ‘Immxrtalisatixn’ concludes, the record could’ve benefited from exterior production and a reduced runtime as the latter half stretches its concept too thin. But, with tracks such as ‘Ask’ displaying a more ambitious iteration of Scarlxrd, filled with chopped gospel samples and compound syllables – there are glimmers of what the record could be.

With a strong first half and a bloated second, ‘Immxrtalisatixn’ may be disjointed, but certain tracks warrant a listen. Regardless of its inconsistent tone, it can’t be denied that Scarlxrd creates a soundscape that’s uniquely his own.