Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Scarlet Red - Don't Dance With Danger
Musical Style: Pop Metal Produced By: Armand John Petri
Record Label: Pure Metal Country Of Origin: USA
Year Released: 1989 Artist Website:
Tracks: 10 Rating: 60%
Running Time: 36:15
Scarlet Red - Don't Dance With Danger

The four original members of Scarlet Red initially played together in a secular band called Lust prior to accepting Christ into their lives.  When the bands drummer got saved, he no long could justify being in a band with such a name and purpose, and, as a result, he left Lust which prompted the entire group to break up.  Nevertheless, in time and without any communication with one another, each former member of Lust became a Christian.  After getting back in touch, they wanted to create music reflecting their new found faith and subsequently formed Scarlet Red, a band whose name was chosen to honor the blood of Christ.  Scarlet Red proceeded to place the track "You Live Fast" on The Axemen compilation in 1988 before releasing its debut Don't Dance With Danger on Pure Metal Records the following year.

On Don't Dance With Danger Scarlet Red plays a combination of commercial flavored pop metal and melodic hard rock certain to appeal to fans of Shout, Stryper, Guardian, Angelica and Poison.  While lead vocalist Danis might not quite have the range of Nancy Jo Mann (Barnabas) or Lisa Faxson (Ransom), she puts in an all around solid and commendable performance.  The lead guitar work of Curtis Lee can comes across in a manner that is inconsistent and restrained.  When allowed to cut loose on tracks such as "You Live Fast" and "Break The Chains", however, he proves a very fine musician.  The drumming of Davy Ledford is often underplayed and lacking in aggression.  Jeff Warner rounds out the rhythm section on bass.

Don't Dance With Danger gives prominence to a refined though somewhat inconsistent production job.  A crisp rhythm guitar sound is backed by a mix of clean lead guitar and punchy bass lines.  The drums, on the other hand, can come across on the flat and muddy side.  The lead vocals end up mixed too prominently.

The keyboards opening "You Live Fast" transition to an acoustic guitar before the rhythm guitar kicks in hard and heavy.  Slowing upon reaching its first verse, the song picks up in pace upon attaining a high octane chorus with a good catchy hook.  Lee contributes thirty seconds of fiery lead guitar work.  "You Live Fast" presents a challenge to its listeners to make the correct eternal decision:

The time has come for an answer
Will it be yes or no?
Will it be heaven?
Or will it be hell?
It's up to you, you know

Introduced to several seconds of crisp open air rhythm guitar, "Cry Out" moves through its first verse to a near perfect mix of crunchy rhythm guitar and punchy bass lines.  An ordinary sounding chorus, on the other hand, would have stood out in a more noteworthy manner if backed by vocal harmonies.  Another drawback worth pointing out is the songs lack of a guitar solo.  "Cry Out" exhorts its listeners to do exactly that:

If you're lost and lonely
Why don't you call on His name
If your heart is hungry
Well this is how you can change
Cry out to Jesus
Cry out to heaven

The acappella vocal harmonies at the start of the melodic hard rocker "Never" return in time to buttress a chorus I might describe as average-to-good at best.  The main shortcoming here, however, resides in a restrained mix of rhythm guitar that all but robs the song of its energy and momentum.  Along that line, I wish the band had expanded upon an instrumental break limited to a few brief seconds of lead guitar.

The power ballad "Knock Down The Walls" slowly advances to a quietly played guitar line until the rhythm guitar abruptly takes over and shores up a good emotionally charged chorus.  Lee adds a nice bluesy guitar solo to a song talking about the struggles in the life of a Christian:

Don't know how I've changed Lord
Somehow it doesn't seem the same
Wish I knew what to do or say
If I could knock down the walls

Subsequent to an edgy rhythm guitar propelling "Fight Fire" through its first verse in a fast paced manner, Ledford's double bass enters the mix in time to fortify an energetic chorus in which Danis displays the abundant range to her voice.  An instrumental passage featuring several seconds of restrained rhythm guitar does not quite cut it.  "Fight Fire" details victory in the life of a Christian:

Leave it to the mighty One
Whenever there is trouble
The fires of hell will not prevail
Every time you turn around
You're faced with temptation
If you're all alone then its a no win situation

The pop metal of the albums title track proceeds from the start in an energetic fashion, a crisp rhythm guitar carrying the song forward until it picks up in pace for a non-stop hook filled chorus.  An instrumental passage limited to several seconds of rhythm guitar is to be found wanting:  At the moment you expect Lee to cut loose with a ripping solo, the song moves on to its third verse.  Sigh.

"Lost And Found" takes off to a heavy duty guitar riff that brings to mind Eternal Ryte.  Maintaining its up-tempo momentum, the song evenly progresses to a chorus that, similar to “Cry Out”, would have stood out further if reinforced by vocal harmonies.  Lee adds a brief but effective solo that bounces between the left and right channel. 

If you call on His name
Your chains will fall away
He's the answer and the way
Through His blood the price is paid

The crisp rhythm guitar initiating the commercial hard rocker "Hold On" quickly carries it to a good radio friendly chorus underscored by vocal harmonies.  Lee nails a brief but effective guitar solo only to return and close out the songs last minute with more tastefully done lead guitar work.

"Why" is a very fine keyboard based ballad showcasing a sound melody line and a strong vocal performance from Danis who reflects upon the work of Christ on the cross:

It wasn't long before I saw it
The painful truth before my eyes
All my sin had brought a price to pay
And I knew it was for me that Jesus died

While quite solid from a musical standpoint, I feel the song would have improved if bolstered by a rhythm guitar track and emotional flavored guitar solo.

The catchy "Break The Chains" begins to the sound of breaking glass followed by a scream and shots being fired.  After a heavy duty riff kicks in over sirens in the background, it energetically propels the song to a chorus driven at a good upbeat tempo.  At its halfway point, "Break The Chains" pauses for a mock newscast ensued by twenty seconds of the albums best lead guitar work.  "Break The Chains" confronts the issue of salvation in the form of a question:

Break the chains- why choose darkness over light?
Break the chains- why stay blind when you could see?

I might describe Don't Dance With Danger as a musically above-average to good album held back by a maddening lack of attention to detail.  For example, allow Curtis Lee to cut loose more often on lead guitar, while adding background vocals to several key tracks and you would end up with the much better effort.  At the same time, put a top notch producer like David Zaffiro in the bands corner along with ten good songs and I can see Scarlet Red recording a high quality sophomore effort.  Unfortunately, it never happened in that following the release of Don't Dance With Danger Scarlet Red was never heard from again.

Review by: Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: "You Live Fast" (4:48), "Cry Out" (2:47), "Never" (3:34), "Knock Down The Walls" (4:10), "Fight Fire" (2:50), "Don’t Dance With Danger" (3:20), "Lost And Found" (2:43), "Hold On To Love" (4:21), "Why" (3:40), "Break The Chains" (3:58)

Danis – Lead Vocals
Curtis Lee – Guitars
Jeff Warner – Bass
Davy Ledford - Drums

Reference List
Houston, Rich. "Glam Metal With A Purpose." White Throne 5 (1989): 12-13.
Houston, Rich. "Scarlet Red - Glamin' The Gospel." Heaven's Metal 20 (1989): 14.


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