Australian hardcore outfit Saviour are back with their first album since their hiatus in 2013. ‘Let Me Leave’ is an impressive effort, tingling with dynamics that somehow both hit and miss the mark. The album marks a departure from the band’s sound, a work in-progress, and, while it isn’t perfect by any means, it’s a step in the right direction.
With any band that uses multiple vocalists, one make-or-break is the consistency of the lyric writing. Are they all working towards the same goal, or are they just talking over one another? Many bands fail miserably at this, while sometimes even the greats like Dance Gavin Dance scrape through thanks purely to the raw talent that they bring to every record.
Happily in Saviour‘s case, they make it work by approaching the same subject from different angles. Shontay Snow‘s silky, rainy day vocals concern higher minded metaphors and analogies, like this opener (and the best line on the album) from ‘All I Am Is You’, “I’m completely afraid of the sea / ’cause she’s unpredictable just like me”, while Bryant Best kicks in two lines later with punchy, La Dispute-esque vocals that ground it in something more earthly, “Just like you did / The water takes my breath away”.
Where this to-and-froing between sadcore/post-rock and hardcore sensibilities lags behind is in the music. Though competently created by the six-piece band, often Snow struggles to vocally change gears and be heard over chugging metal riffs (see the chorus to ‘Forget Me’), and Best‘s growls are obnoxious over a calmer track, such as ‘Pressure And Composure’ (which also wins the award for the worst line of the album, “Stitches are for bitches, man”). This leaves the listener wanting to hear all of one genre or the other, rather than the mis-mash offered.
Highlight ‘The Cool Calm’ is not only excellent produced, swelling and reaching worthwhile crescendos, but is also a patient reflection on the themes of the album. ‘Let Me Leave’ is as much a request as a demand, the album art depicts a bird that has broken out of its cage, only to find itself trapped in a bigger room. Is it hunched in defeat, or is it planning an escape? That depends on your perspective.
Written by Chris Yeoh (@Chris_Yeoh)