This Saviours article was written by Gavin Wells, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Adam Jones
Saviours have been rather quiet over the last few years. Since their last album ‘Death’s Procession’, the heavy metal/doom band hasn’t performed live very often, with many of the band members choosing to focus on their side projects. Four years on, the band from Oakland, California have come together once more, alongside new bassist Andy Anderson to release their fifth album, ‘Palace of Vision’ under Listenable Records, parting ways with Kemado Records after three albums.
The opening track, ‘The Mountain’, starts off with a slow, Doom Metal style intro before kicking into a more energetic verse. Vocalist Austin Barber bursts in with his harsh, thrashy sounding vocals. Guitarist Sonny Reinhardt also shows off his skills with an impressive guitar solo halfway through the song. ‘The Mountain’ is a promising opener, but lacks innovation and at times feels a little too safe.
The following track, ‘Flesh of Fire’ begins with a slow but strong intro. However, the verses feel like they drag on a little, not helped by Barber’s disappointingly dull vocals throughout. Thankfully, some of the boredom felt during ‘Flesh of Fire’ is relieved by an interesting bridge section, as well as two impressive guitar solos from Reinhardt. ‘Devil’s Crown’ is a bit faster and livelier than the previous tracks, but there doesn’t seem to be much progression in the song’s overall structure. Once again, Reinhardt’s guitar solo appears to be the highlight of the song; something that feels like a staple for the band.
Any pacing built up by ‘Devil’s Crown’ is brought to a grinding halt during the title track, ‘Palace of Vision’. Clocking in at just under 8 minutes, it is the longest track on the album. Unfortunately, for the most part, the song is pretty dull and repetitive, with only the lead guitar offering any sort of enjoyment. The bridge section changes the tone of the song slightly, but it only makes it harder to go back to the boring verse and chorus.
‘Burning Shrine’ is a highlight of the album, opening a little differently from the previous tracks. It stars with only a quiet guitar at the back of the mix, shrouded by eerie sound effects, before suddenly bursting into a fast-paced verse. Drummer, Scott Batiste also makes use of double-bass peddling throughout; a welcome change from what he’s done on drums so far. There is also an interestingly harmonised guitar solo around the halfway mark.
Coming towards the end of the album, ‘Cursed Night’ comes as a huge disappointment. The entire track is basically a slowed-down, recycled version of ‘The Mountain’s’ intro. It feels like Saviours were trying to turn this melody into a theme for the album. Instead, it comes across as lazy album filler. The track ends with 52 seconds of static noise, which quickly becomes annoying and feels like it only exists to pad out the running time. Closing track ‘The Seeker’ redeems things a little bit, but doesn’t feel any different from most of the tracks that came before it.
After their four year absence, ‘Palace of Vision’ doesn’t leave much of an impact. There are a few noteworthy moments, but for the most part each track feels dragged out and not very interesting. Sadly, this doesn’t feel like the big comeback that Saviours deserves.
‘Palace of Vision’ is out now via Listenable Records.