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Scratchy riffs, ghoulish song titles, scathing vocals, with death/trve metal elements? It can only be South American crossover entertainment from Chile’s Saviour.
With 36 minutes of colourful South American metal, Memories of a Spirit Sentence has a lot to offer. No strangers to the ‘underground’ Chilean metal scene, this is Saviour’s 5th release, their only first full-length, in 27 years. Though they are by no means prolific, they play with the aptitude of seasoned veterans, which, I suppose, they are.
Despite a clanger of a cheesy synth intro, the tempo shifts and vocal exchanges on Call From Bellow are a refreshing start to a blackened thrash metal album. The opening bass riff on Saviour Devourer is the kind of basic arpeggio triad you’ll hear when walking into many a guitar shop and it grates for a good 30 seconds or so before the song starts proper – not many albums see the bass take any kind of lead so it’s a shame we don’t see anything better than what your 8-year-old nephew learns at his second bass lesson. The song continues through some blackened thrash, blackened death, blackened trve metal twists and turns and is, frankly, good value for money. Fourth track Equinox has an eerily raw solo to it, and even though the lick isn’t pristine, it fits perfectly with the mood of the song. Accumulator of Souls offers a more pensive intro to its solo before launching into sweep picking territory – the solos on the album aren’t just good, they’re perfectly suitable for the mood and pace of whichever track they’re on and hit the sweet spot each time. The drumming is balanced between keeping rhythm and taking centre stage with tempo changes and complex fills, though the ride, crash, and hi-hats could have used more bass and compression. The vocals are shared between the dominant death metal rumbles and black metal barks, and compliment each other surprisingly well, and could have benefited from a tad more compression and low end to make them pop.
The production is fairly raw and scratchy but not enough to pigeonhole the band within a restrictive, defined category, and as we’re listening to South American metal, that will often be the case. The mix does well to balance the frequencies and ensure that everything fits like a glove, though the only bugbear for some might be that the sound is a bit thin overall. The other bugbear is that we may have to wait another 27 years for the next Saviour LP, or until the next global pandemic, which would be a great shame to the Chilean and global metal scene.
Release date: December 28th, 2020
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