Saviour – Shine & Fade (Album Review)

Saviour - Shine & Fade album review

Saviour – Shine & Fade
Released: April 29th, 2022

Lineup:

Bryant Best – Vocals
Shontay Snow – Vocals/Keys
Daniel Rees – Guitar
Curtis Tunks  – Guitar
Chris Pearce – Bass/Vocals
Michael Matta – Drums

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Perth metalcore band Saviour didn’t have the best luck with their previous album, A Lunar Rose. Despite its awesome quality, it was released in February 2020, just before everything shut down for a global pandemic. Perth found itself cut off from the rest of Australia as authorities took a lockout approach to keep the virus away, which meant Saviour didn’t even have the chance to tour their most impeccable album yet (the band speak about their struggles in our latest interview here).

In spite of that setback, the crew are back with a brand new record – Shine & Fade. For a band that has sought to do something different in the alternative scene, album number five benefits from closely following their fourth. The result is a tight release, eight tracks in 35 minutes, that uses the new elements of Chris Pearce’s clean vocals and the technical guitar playing of new guy Curtis Tunks. It means the familiar elements have a sharpness and vigour that unveils themselves in a determined and ambitious set of songs that will see a lot of people take notice. 

Opener ‘Younger’ runs the gauntlet from melodic guitars to thundering drums and Bryant Best’s killer growl. It’s a headbanging good time that really stands out when it slows to allow Shontay Snow and Best to feed off each other’s vocals. The breakdown is accompanied by atmospheric keys that lead into Pearce’s clean vocals, with Snow on harmonies. This is an exciting development that opens up the melodic range the band can compose with. It’s epic as it moves between sections like a sonata.

‘Reshape Me’ is a little more traditional, with melodic leads straight out of the Gothenburg school of death metal accompanying Best’s screams. Snow and Pearce combine again on the chorus, which really gives it the boost it needs to be a live anthem. You can bet fans will be singing “Until I’m Empty” back at them in packed venues around the country. ‘Racing Home’ kicks off with clean vocals, another chance for a singalong before Best takes it to a heavy and dark place. It picks up the tempo too with a hardcore burst that will inspire people to strut and thrash around to create a circle-shaped pit. The keys add an almost symphonic quality too, which elevates from good time to great tune. 

Things get really atmospheric with ‘Modern Curse’, an uptempo rocker with Bryant growling along to a subtle riff. It’s got a great chorus (seriously this album has more hooks than a one-armed fisherman) and Tunks’ technical playing really works here too, adding more than the usual djent to the heavy riffs. Likewise, he adds a ton to ‘Tidal Wave’. It’s a more technical riff that really gives Best some meat to chew as he spits venom on the mic. It’s a dark song lyrically, well suited to the trio of vocalists getting out their emotions through their different styles. It’s probably ‘Tidal Wave’ that utilises the palette to its fullest, with the movement from heavy to melodic sections less jarring and more cohesive. A lot of that is due to the riffs working well together and the keys linking it all together. As far as melodic metal goes, it’s songs like ‘Black Rosary’ that sit comfortably as genre examples. It’s slower, with the keys doing a lot of the work, giving Best’s bark centre stage and Snow adding her own accompaniment. Fine album track but not really exciting, though the breakdown is predictably huge.

‘Cynical’ though is an uptempo jam with serious fortitude and a dose of anger that goes HARD. Snow’s verse is a moment of levity, contrasting with Best’s gritty growl on the bridge. ‘Wishing Well’ is more immediate than almost anything else, there’s no keyboard or slow guitar intro, it is a riff and Best yelling. It’s bloody glorious too, with Pearce adding clean vocals for the chorus, reminding me of some of Killswitch Engage’s best work. It’s a curious track to end on, considering that it is full on and really leaves you wanting more. I guess that’s the point! Give them a taste of heaven and drag them through hell. We end with Snow’s keys and ethereal vocals, a soundscape for dreaming as it fades out…

Shine & Fade is pretty slick with songs that are catchy and heavy without betraying their principles. With their minds open to new sonic possibilities, Saviour have inched towards a broader sound, rather than made a leap. It’s an invigorating album that builds on A Lunar Rose and now gives Saviour a stack of new and different songs to play live. Tunks’ addition is particularly exciting as his guitar playing could open up other composition possibilities, which are hinted at here, with the entrenched trio of singers adding unique ways of conveying the emotion of their lyrics. Definitely worth checking out, even if you missed their previous albums. Catch them now while they are still on the rise. 

Saviour - Shine & Fade album review

Saviour – Shine & Fade tracklisting

1. Younger
2. Reshape Me
3. Racing Home
4. Modern Curse
5. Tidal Wave
6. Black Rosary
7. Cynical
8. Wishing Well

Rating: 8.5/10
Shine & Fade is out Friday via Greyscale Records. Pre-Order here.
Review by KJ Draven (Twitter and Instagram

Read our interview with frontman Bryant Best and guitarist Curtis Tunks here

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