Saviour – A Lunar Rose
Released: February 28th, 2020
Bryant Best – Vocals
Shontay Snow – Vocals/Keys
Daniel Reesy – Guitar
Tom Beaumont – Guitar
Chris Pearce – Bass
Michael Matta – Drums
There aren’t too many Australian bands around who have crafted their own unique sound as well as Perth’s very own Saviour. With the news that they are (finally) releasing their long-awaited fourth album A Lunar Rose we are given the opportunity to see this act in a different light, with a more defined sound. Interestingly enough, this is Saviour‘s first album since leaving record label UNFD, moving forward as an independent act.
The album begins with ‘Lunar’ which starts with an atmospheric sound before integrating into Shontay Snow‘s delicate vocals. This particular track has a strong drum presence with lead vocalist Bryant Best screaming the lyrics “everything I could have been, should have been, never was” before a heavy breakdown erupts early on, which really sets the tone for what is to come. The first single of the album to be released, ‘Never Sleep’, begins with soft, layered guitar riffs which is quickly sung over by clean vocalist Shontay’s angelic voice. Bryant Best shows off his vocal abilities in this piece, ranging from hard-hitting, brutal unclean vocals to softer small bursts of spoken word. The instrumentals in this piece are quite refreshing, as the saying goes ‘less is more’, the drums particularly have managed to be the driving force to bring this piece to life.
Next up is ‘Souvenir’ which is the albums first song to delve into the band’s heavy elements, rather than a slow, melodic build-up. This is arguably the albums heaviest track, mainly due to the fast, extensive guitar presence that blends easily with Matta’s fast-paced drumming, creating an easy listening experience which flows without strain. The way that vocalists Bryant and Shontay share the vocal duties is exceptional, they complement each other perfectly and this song is no different. The entire song eludes to a heavy breakdown towards the outro which is inclusive of the lyrics “This world wasn’t made for me” before the song begins to fade out with Bryant’s brutal vocals as well as Snow’s heavenly voice repeating “I think the memory is the very best part of me“. ‘Enemies’ has a seemingly effortless ebb and flow to it, with interludes of gently sung lyrics such as “I’ve got enemies, I’ve got entities, my anxieties running through my head. I don’t even want to know the answer” by the talented Shontay Snow, amongst all the heavy instrumentals. The song structure, though not too common, works extremely well, allowing the listener to experience all the emotions, twists and turns that this song has to offer. ‘Violet’ features an explosively heavy introduction, the tempo in this song fluctuates a lot in an undulated fashion, which is not a bad thing at all, it helps showcase more aspects of Saviour‘s raw talent, with an equally impressive balance of mosh inducing riffs and breakdowns as well as soft, alluring sing-along worthy aspects where Shontay seems to flourish, making this track a standout. The instrumentals are incredibly tight-knit in this piece, making every facet of this song gel together smoothly. This anthem closes out softly as both vocalists repeat the phrase “so take me, why don’t you take me?” as the instrumentals fade out, which makes for a perfect ending.
The introduction of ‘Passengers’ is slow with an atmospheric, ambient sound kicking off the song, which at first listen gave me the impression this would be a slow song, however, the tempo is quickly pushed high as the band brings us back to their heavy roots. With strong, repetitive drumming maintaining its position at the core of this track, it allows other instrumentals to flourish. With minimal vocal input from clean vocalist Snow, the limelight is on unclean vocalist, Best, who manages to fulfil the highest of expectations. Lyrics such as “I’ll be fine for the meantime” being screamed throughout the lead up to the breakdown, makes for a powerful touch on Bryant Best‘s behalf. ‘Calendars’ slows down the tempo, returning to the atmospheric sounds we see throughout the beginning of the album. This piece offers new elements to the album, including a capella style singing and majority of the vocal input coming from Shontay Snow, her keys also have more of an input in this offering than in previous tracks, which works ever so nicely. Intermittently we see bursts of the band’s staple heavy elements which complements the message behind the lyrical content of the song, which is, to be caught up in negative circumstances while trying to make sense of it all.
Beginning with the harrowing sounds of keys and guitars, ‘Rose’ continues where ‘Calendars’ left off. The emotion in Shontay’s voice is easy to notice as she asks for help, as the theme of this song continues with the narrative of looking for and finding one’s self. This soft, beautifully written and executed track is a guaranteed tear-jerker. Returning to the more melodic and heavy sound this class act is known for, we are brought to ‘The City’, which begins with an enticing guitar riff and continues into a style which is very similar to ‘Never Sleep’, where simplistic, slower-paced instrumentals make for an impressive song. Bryant’s voice is tame in comparison to previous tracks, which works perfectly for this offering, he can seemingly do no wrong on this album. Lastly, the album wraps up with ‘Pixelated’ which almost seems as if it a continuation of the previous song. This melodic piece encapsulates nearly all aspects of the previous songs including, thumping guitars, fast-paced and on-point drumming, clear cut and well-defined vocals making it a fantastic album outro. Lyrically, this song speaks of wanting someone who used to be close to you to come back and manages to shed hope on a dim situation, leaving the listener feeling inspired and hopeful.
This is a career-defining album which takes us into a new era of Saviour. It is hard for me to fault this album, I wouldn’t change much at all if I could. It is inclusive of everything this band is known and loved for as well as new styles and sounds.
Saviour – A Lunar Rose tracklisting:
- Never Sleep
- The City