Back in early 2014, Perth’s Saviour left the local music scene mere months after dropping their sophomore record, ‘First Light To My Death Bed’. While that album was well-received by fans and critics alike, it was too little, too late for the group…because, well, what the hell was the point of continuing? The band was burning out after almost four years worth of touring hard, and with the gains, sadly, never matching the effort, the group pulled the plug and moved on. However, after a period of time working on other projects, the members made contact, reminiscing about the good ol’ days. Thus, the fire is back, and Saviour have returned.
But what’s to say that past issues won’t resurface? “Looking back, we can appreciate the band a lot more,” vocalist Bryant Best tells us over the phone while on tour with Ocean Grove and Ambleside. “There was a lot running against us back then, but we are a lot smarter now, and are more aware of how this all works. One thing [to ensure is] not to set yourselves up so that you lose lots of money, and that comes down to making sure that merch is always there, that you’re taking the right shows that make it worth it. Back then, we would tour with bands around Australia and we’d only be getting paid $100 per show, which barely paid for the fucking fuel.”
“That sucked, and we were really burning ourselves out there. Now we can see where we went wrong and we can put the effort in to never repeat those same mistakes. It’s hard to do it from Perth, for sure, and we’ll be keeping those sorts of things in mind this time,” the vocalist says.
Now, we live in an age where nothing is ever really dead. Bands that have played their “final” shows are back touring and writing again soon after. Shit, even movies and video games are getting remakes and remasters left, right and centre nowadays. We’re just counting down the days until Confession and Hand Of Mercy reunite. So, is it somewhat disingenuous to bring the band back after the curtain had dropped? Bryant doesn’t think so, explaining that it took just two mates rekindling a friendship to get the ball rolling again.
“Lyndsay [Antica, guitar] and I had a falling out and we stopped talking to each other full stop. I hit him up to talk about what we had to fix. We met up, went to the pub, and talked about the band…it was a really weird position for us. We thought, ‘Could we do the band again and make it work out?’ Honestly, it just kind of happened. We definitely meant to break up, and when we ended it we didn’t think about ever bringing it back together. Hopefully the time we’ve been away hasn’t invalidated us,” he says.
If the early response from fans is any measuring stick – we don’t think so at all, Bryant. Although, when you think about it, this was not so much of a break up as it was a hiatus. Well, that’s what the euphemism is now in 2016. While, initially, in 2014, no plans to reform were ever considered, this reincarnation appears genuine.
“We are never going to do some fucking John Farnham thing where we do a last tour and just keep touring forever. That’s just stupid to me. There are a lot of bands [that] do that, and for what I think are the wrong reasons. We are here now because it’s organic and it was really by chance,” Best asserts.
The band’s first new song in over two years is ‘Lovers’, and while it is thematically similar to any predecessor material, it shows a somewhat lighter side to the band. Best states that the new single is much more in touch with the kind of tunes listeners will eventually come to hear.
“There’s definitely some diversity to our new stuff. I think we have changed our sound up, and it is similar, just minus all of the metalcore breakdowns and all that. We want to blend that out of our band now, too.”
The singer also mentions that in their downtime writing, Saviour has amassed a large amount of material in the song bank, some which is from the old school Saviour.
“We have a lot of songs in the bank that are very true to our early work. With bringing in Shontay, she has been involved with the writing now, which is a new flavour all together, and that will hopefully come through with the new stuff.”
But there’s no guarantee we’ll see a lot of those songs, and by the sounds of it, the heavy side of Saviour may start to diminish as the band goes on; as they start to phase out the low growls and heavy guitar chugs.
“There will still be some mosh-heavy parts, but the boys have substantially tuned up their guitars. That top string is nowhere near as heavy. We’re getting rid of all those gimmicky heavy moments and trying to be more stylish, and more relevant to where we are now. As for my lows, it’s not something I look out for when I listen to music, so I’m not sure if that’ll be a part of the new songs.”
But don’t fret, people – the older songs aren’t going anywhere.
“There are a few songs that we’ll always have to play as long as we are a band [like ‘Jaded’] and that’s cool, so we’ll pull those tunes out when we can. This tour is really a celebration of what we were. But as I said, we have two albums worth of tracks to sort over and choose over. We’re actually kind of confused about what we’ll do with it all, to be honest,” Best says.
Now, it’s not so much a lack of preparation or the ideas, but instead, the amount of freedom and the amount of content the band has lined up that may be the hardest thing to conquer in the studio. Yet, that’s the most exciting part, ’tis it not?
“It’s been really refreshing coming back, and our minds are all at different places from where they were a few years ago. Just putting it all together, and once we’re in there, it’ll all go up a few levels. We’re really excited for what the final product will be.”
Their studio time is lined up with Singapore/Perth-based producer/engineer Roland Lim (and hey, he’s always made Make Them Suffer sound stellar so this could be the most polished Saviour record to date) right after their current headline tour. Noice!
In his down time between Saviour: Part One and Saviour 2: Electric Boogaloo, the vocalist fronted the metalcore/experimental/nu-metal I Am Zero as well as post-hardcore, ambient/atmospheric duo, Bright & Grey. That’s a bit of a juxtaposition, for sure, but it’s also helped the musician focus on his primary love.
“With every project I do, I want to do something different and something I haven’t done before. Working with my friends in I Am Zero was fun; I was able to shake off my Saviour mindset. Same goes for Bright & Grey. Stepping away from those projects was hard. But coming back to Saviour, I feel like the more songs you write in any genre will help your overall song writing ability.”
“Or maybe it’s not, and I’ve written too many songs and all I’ve got left is rubbish,” Best adds jokingly.
Interestingly enough, nearly all of the members have been busy since the break. Drummer Jordan Mather plays in Make Way For Man, Antica went over to the Confession camp, Graeme Burgess joined Best in Bright & Grey, Shontay Snow has her own solo material, and the two new guys – guitarist Daniel Reesy and bassist Tylar Rettig – come from This Existence. However, while that sounds like an ideal mixing pot of ideas in regards to the writing process, unfortunately, it hasn’t been the case.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get everyone on board as we wanted to. Lyndsay and I have written most of this album together, and we’re still trying to get the boys and Shontay involved more. The stuff we release after this album will really be all of us dancing together and it could be very cool”.
Additionally, we are very happy to see that Shontay Snow is an official member of the band, because let’s face it, she basically was a member of the band. With the inclusion of her vocals, the one band that may jump to people’s mind is From Autumn To Ashes with their first album, ‘Too Bad You’re Beautiful’. However, Best gives some critiques of how a lot of musicians can view themselves and their art.
“I do like to think it adds to our uniqueness, the addition of Shontay and stuff. But, I think that every musician thinks what they are doing is unique. I have lots of metalcore bands hit me up about how original they are, and it just sounds the same to me. I know some people will see it as unique, and maybe that’ll be the same for us. Somebody always has something to say, and I’m sure someone will say we sound like Northlane anyway. Fuck those people.”
Ah yes, the ol’ Northlane comparisons…never forget.
With a return typically comes a new release, and Best is straight with us about the band’s recording plans, noting it will be sooner rather later before a new record is in the hands of listeners.
“Straight up man, as soon as we get back from tour we’ll be going into recording the album. Our last show of this tour is March 6th. From March 7th, we go into the studio for weeks. We’ll try to get it out as quick as possible, and once we get a few videos out, the turn around should be quick. It’ll hopefully be out in the fist half of this year.”
You see, Alexisonfire? Reunions ain’t that hard to do, Christ.
So, if everything doesn’t go tits up for the band, Saviour should hopefully stick around for a lot longer than their first iteration. Keep your ears to the ground for their new album.