ALBUM REVIEW: Scarlxrd – Infinity

Release Date: March 15th 2019
Label: Island Records


Love him or loathe him, Scarlxrd is most definitely a product of his time – for many, falling under a subgenre of rap defined by a media outlet (SoundCloud rap), and his overall sound being a reminder of how genre boundaries have become more and more blurred over the years.

Combining trap and hip-hop with a harsh vocal delivery that can only come from listening to rock and metal, and with the idea of rest being seemingly non-existent, ‘Infinity’ is Scarlxrd‘s seventh album in three years. He still hates the letter ‘o’ too.

As soon as you press play, you’ll know whether or not this is for you. What’s also clear is that it’s very aggressive and confrontational, especially with the vocal delivery. For opener ‘I WANT TX SEE YXU BLEED’, Scarlxrd showcases his trademark screamed chorus, which is impossible to ignore, along with his impressively fast flow in the verse. The self-explanatory ‘STFU’ offers more confrontation, again with an infectious hook designed to be screamed back at him.

But where ‘Infinity’ is strong in its ability to bring the aggression for long periods of time, it also serves as a weakness. ‘I CAN DX WHAT I WANT’ has a welcome guitar riff and a lot of bounce, but some moments on the record feel very try-hard, such as “Go fuck yourself ’til you bleed” from ‘LIVING LEGEND’. As un-ignorable as his scream is, the heavy emphasis on it and mostly one-dimensional musical backing leave barely any room for respite. This isn’t coming from your grandparents who ring Ofcom because of a slightly rude word on the telly, but the posturing and excessive shock value for the sake of it doesn’t really feel necessary.

There are some attempts at variation in the second half, like in the instrumentation of ‘HEAD GXNE’, and the interesting xylophone sample in ‘SX SAD’. ‘BERZERK’ features more fast-paced flow and far less reliance on the screams, and ‘DXMONS & ANGELS’ displays some noticeable anguish, ending the album on a very fraught note.

When some acts have made rather pathetic attempts at crossing over in recent years, the aggro and raucous present here is certainly welcome. Scarlxrd may split opinion, but you can’t accuse him of trying to be something he’s not, and you could do a lot worse.

As an album, this could do with a lot more variation with the musical backing and less reliance on the screamed delivery, but Scarlxrd doesn’t exist to please the picky. ‘Infinity’ brings instantaneous aggression in droves, and if you just want to unleash some angst, let Scarlxrd be your soundtrack.