For Fans Of
In early 2016, we ran an Aussie Feature segment with Saviour’s screamer, Bryant Best. In it, he said that the band were going to “blend out” the heavier, mosh elements of their melodic metalcore sound with their next full-length and go in a lighter, more stylish direction that best represented where the six-piece was currently at. This was first echoed by their returning 2016 single, ‘Lovers‘, and now it is a deafening chorus with their latest record, ‘Let Me Leave‘.
There are no songs like ‘Vomit‘, ‘Decepticons‘ or ‘Unstoppable‘ to be found here, and the plausibility of seeing more songs like ‘Evelette‘ or ‘Homecoming‘ in the future is more likely than ever with a record such as ‘Let Me Leave‘. That should tell any and all die-hard fans reading this all they need to know, but let me elaborate for those not fully familiar with this Perth band because I am utterly in love the sound of my own voice.
First off, the seven-strings are out and the six-strings are in. The tunings are higher and the guitar tones overall are cleaner as well, and the band mixes these two distinct tones together, with guitarists Lyndsay Antica and Daniel Reesy playing off each other really well. Not in a completely unique way for heavy music, mind you, but just in a really solid manner! Best still delivers his impassioned, throaty screams and occasional spoken-word parts but he rarely brings out those deeper growls. But when he does, boy, they carry so much more impact due to their infrequent appearances. Jordan Mather’s drumming is less frantic and slightly less metal/hardcore inspired, yet all while still being surgically tight and punchy. As it needs to be.
As fans of the band should be well aware of, the other big change for Saviour is that the band’s once only “studio member” Shontay Snow is now a fully-fledged member of the group – 2016 saw her first tour with the band too. Snow has always played a hand in the writing and recording the band’s prior releases but never has she been this prominent a force in their music, and that is all for the better. Her delicate, folk-like vocals complement and harmonise with Best’s screams perfectly and the pair provides a powerful back-and-forth relationship with their respective vocals throughout this damn solid album. (There’s also a song that Snow exclusively sings on too, the heartfelt lullaby that is ‘The Cool Calm‘.) There is also a consistent and appropriate amount of delay and reverb on her vocals, which suitably adds another dynamic layer to the cleaner, ambient sound Saviour has fostered for themselves on this new ten-track release.
There are, of course, brief respites to their heavier side with the occasional breakdown or heavily distorted palm-muted section here and there. But by and large, this is a new and improved Saviour and a refreshed one at that!
But for all of these changes, which are indeed for the best, the key issue with this record and what holds it back is its overbearing repetition. From the onset of album opener ‘April‘ right through to the gorgeous stand out ‘Like This‘, over to the long-running finale of ‘Little Birds‘, one starts to accurately predict where these ten songs will lead you. From the vocal melodies and the guitar riffs, what instrumental execution will be featured in the choruses, the overall song structures and the various synth and virtual instruments that underpin everything else; it all becomes quite predictable after the first four songs. However, Saviour still has a long while to go as a band and this third album of theirs is a great first step down that long yet fulfilling road, one that could see them diversify themselves even further and reach new heights and more ears.
Now, as regular KYS readers will note, I have absolutely no problem when a band changes up their sound, no matter how subtle or drastic it may be. But that is only when it feels like the correct, natural change for a band to make and in this particular case, while it may indeed be subtle to some listeners, this album indeed feels like the correct and natural route for Saviour to take. Taking a quick step back in time, their 2011 debut ‘Once We Were Lions‘, was enjoyable despite its very hit and miss track listing, and I still regularly spin the solid follow-up that was ‘First Light To My Death Bed‘. But I cannot shake the feeling that this record is easily the band’s best thus far. Not ‘incredible’, not ‘perfect’, but definitely not far off.
For ‘Let Me Leave‘ is a deeply consistent listen (despite the aforementioned repetition), and it’s a record that is genuinely touching and melancholic with its lyrical content detailing internal reflection, life ambitions, personal loss and the hardship of long time relationships coming to a bitter end; a topic which isn’t always as black and white as we may often yearn for it to be.
You know, this record frequently brought me back to the thoughts and feelings I had about my last long-term relationship, and how I might have been able to salvage that year and a half plus relationship and not have had it end in the absolute clusterfuck of a mess that it inevitably did. But hey, we were both young and not all love is created equally nor reciprocated the same way. And you know, she wanted to leave me. Or rather, as this album’s title so subtly suggests, maybe she simply needed to leave; she needed to be set free, with or without me. Who knows, maybe I was the one who should have left first? And maybe I would have if I had seen the larger forest through the tree? Maybe…
For all of the angsty pop-punk and feels heavy melodic hardcore bands that I have to sit through in my email inbox each and every goddamn month, very few bands – very few albums – have had this kind of emotional impact on me lately. Yes, these lyrical topics are definitely nothing new for metalcore or melodic hardcore and the like, but there’s only a handful other bands within heavy music that can deliver this kind of subject matter as pure and strongly as Saviour has here.
‘Let Me Leave‘ may not be perfect, but neither are our interpersonal and romantic relationships and it is those imperfections that (hopefully) make it all worth it in the end.
Fuck, that got real for a minute there. Anyway, let’s end this thing.
Perhaps it is somewhat intentional or maybe even ironic that following Saviour’s reunion, their first full-length record back is titled ‘Let Me Leave’, a plea for one to be set free from who or what holds them back to make their own way; to attain a better life. Which is exactly what this group are doing now in this new chapter of their band’s history – moving on for the better. Prior to hearing this album, I was just simply happy to have Saviour back in my life. But now, after listening to and since deeply admiring ‘Let Me Leave’, I am very excited for this band’s future.
Hey, Saviour – promise to never leave us again, yeah?
2. All I Am Is You
3. The Quiet Calm
4. Pressure And Composure
5. The Cool Calm
6. Forget Me
7. Like This
8. The Low In Hello
10. Little Birds
‘Let Me Leave’ is out now via UNFD.