Review: “A Lunar Rose” by Saviour

Perth Western Australia is home to Saviour, a Melodic Hardcore act who have have left UNFD to go independent for this, their forth studio album. Their last two albums in 2013’s “First Light To My Deathbed” and 2017’s “Let Me Leave” have both been top 50 ARIA charting albums so Bryant Best (Vocals), Shontay Snow (Vocals & Keyboards), Daniel Reesy (Guitar), Chris Pearce (Bass), Tom Beaumont (Guitar) and Michael Matta (Drums) have already enjoyed some success and it might not be a surprise that they cite influence in Make Them Suffer and Reins while sharing stages with the likes of In Hearts Wake and Void Of Vision in their native Australia.

Album introduction track “Lunar” might only be 109 seconds long but like Superman it leaps sub-genres like buildings in a single bound. Crossing from Shontay Snow’s beautiful clean vocals to Bryant Best’s brutal uncleans in a matter of seconds while playing off an intricate and delicate balance between the Post-Hardcore and Metallic Hardcore elements within the track with a spellbinding quality and a sense of the kind of vibe that Earth Caller have achieved on a handful of their songs. “Never Sleep” may have been released in September 2018 as a single but continues the flow created by “Lunar” as if they were both written in the same sessions. The vocal interplay is masterfully done with both vocalists getting not only their own parts but interweaving moments whereby they both take lead or backing parts and then switch over. The guitar work is equally interesting and complex, crossing from bright dissonance with tinges of Progressive influence and melancholy while also having a solid heavier side and some crushing breakdown moments. “Souvenir” name checks the album title in Shontay Snow’s lyrics while increasing the amount of breakdowns. Rap screams and programmed drum loops add to the tracks sense of tension while the introspective lyrics are the hand that throws the plate against the wall during a heated argument for a sense of release.

Effectively the second single from the album “Enemies“, appearing more than a year after “Never Sleep” is a more than effective summary of the Saviour sound as a whole on “A Lunar Rose” with juddering staccato riffs that are a couple of notches below being what you might call DJent while also having that aching beauty of the Post Hardcore sound equates to a far heavier version of say Dream State but with the same kind of qualities. There are moments that some listeners will want Saviour to go balls out heavy and deliver a killer breakdown and keep that high rate extinction level sonic up but that’s not what this band are about. They have so much more depth, contrast and textural elements to their sound that everything has it’s place and rightful balance while never sounding formulaic. “Violet” is a fine example of that as it off loads a riff that isn’t too far away from Tech-Metal while managing to shoe horn in a Deathcore breakdown section, some two step moments as well as finding space for some luscious piano work and soothing clean vocals. Leaping out with a Hardcore drive and galloping drum pattern from Matta, “Passengers” has some of the hardest hitting lyrics on the album as it screams out “Give it all that you’ve got” while the guitars don’t have the crunch, instead leaving the lyrics to punch the message home as the Saviour do the unexpected and the result is a fabulous listen. Some Metalcore elements creep into the the guitar work by the time “Calendars” gets to the achingly beautiful piano backed clean vocals and with it comes some blood and thunder riffage that is heavy enough to get you moving in the pit but not heavy enough to overpower the cleaner elements, which is vital.

Shontay Snow shines on the opening of “Rose” which makes good use of her vocals and keyboards to create a whirlpool of introspection with a misery loves company feeling while Bryant Best’s destructive growls play the beast against her beauty, like the angel and devil on her shoulder. You could best describe the song as the albums equivalent of a ballad musically, but it’s far from a love story. Bringing back the heavier elements with the energetic “The City” which has the bite as well as the bark, it’s an ode to the distractions of Perth but in the rabbit in the headlights sense and would make for a single if opportunity should allow. “Pixelated” keeps up the quality levels with swathes of Progressive tinged guitar work counter balanced by some chugging staccato moments and bitterness that bleeds to breathe from Best. It’s a fine way to end a fine album and with Shontay Snow having some vocal tones which are akin to Dido in places it makes for a emotionally charged weighty listen [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Lunar
  2. Never Sleep
  3. Souvenir
  4. Enemies
  5. Violet
  6. Passengers
  7. Calendars
  8. Rose
  9. The City
  10. Pixelated

A Lunar Rose” by Saviour is out 28th February and is available for pre-order here

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