For Fans Of
Not many names spring to mind when you think of New Zealand hardcore and metal scenes. Antagonist A.D. maybe, but it’s doubtful that many would have heard of Saving Grace. This metallic hardcore five-piece, who have a strong religious faith behind their music, should hopefully develop bigger followings in their home country and in Australia as well with ‘The Urgency‘.
Produced and engineered by Zack Ohren (The Ghost Inside, Carnifex, First Blood), the band’s fourth full-length to date is a decent release, one that is completely jammed packed with musical influences from Carnifex, All Shall Perish, and Unearth. There are plenty of blast beats, some well placed breakdowns, and plenty of tight, heavy riffs, but all of which seem to be ripped straight from early 2000’s metal releases. With that being said however, Saving Grace‘s brand of metalcore is far more enjoying than most other contemporary metalcore bands of the past five or so years.
Thankfully, more of the band’s metal influence shines through on this album. ‘The Man Who Painted The Pavement‘ and the opening track, ‘ 0‘ are two of the heaviest tracks on the full-length, but the former is also one of the best on offer here. It is unrelenting and crushing, not only in the bass and drumming but also in the guitar work. However, the other contender for heaviest fucking track on the record goes to ‘Temple of the Snake‘. It’s a relatively enjoyable tune with its fast vocal phrasing in the verses, but it does have a really similar sounding intro to the opening track and wears thin the longer the track goes on.
‘Like A Trainwreck‘ and ‘Anthem of the Underground‘ have a strong old-school, NYC themed hardcore style to them. There is also a strong 90’s, Hatebreed/Earth Crisis vibe to them, especially with how the songs are structured. Although the latter does have some pretty cheesy lyrics with ‘We are the broken. We are the lost’. Or the giant, but massively cliché pit call of ‘Behold your downfall!’ on ‘Ceremony‘. Sorry Saving Grace but the 2000’s called, they want their lyrics back.
‘The Urgency‘ loses steam pretty quickly and a lot of the chords and riffs feel very recycled by the time the end of the album rolls around. The full-length’s first single, ‘Ablaze‘ has a great guitar solo but it’s too short to leave a strong enough or lasting impact. ‘Descent‘ does have a pretty meaty drop around the last thirty or so seconds – and it’s a drop you will really feel when jamming it through some decent headphones or speakers – but that’s about all you will ever remember from the track.
In fact, you never really remember much of the album, you just remember that it was a good listen overall. And that’s what ‘The Urgency‘ is, a good listen. Thus, this places this offering in the centre of the hierarchy of the genre, and no where near the top.
Hardcore kids and metalheads alike will get a lot out of this album. It isn’t quite as impressive as some of the the genre’s heavyweights, but ‘The Urgency’ will hopefully garner the band a slew of new fans and open up a lot more opportunities for this New Zealand five-piece.
Like A Trainwreck
The Banks Of The Ortara
Anthem Of The Underground
Temple Of The Snake
The Man Who Painted The Pavement