Severed Savior - Servile Insurrection
Technical Brutal Death Metal
11 songs (34:39)
Release year: 2008
Severed Savior, Willowtip
Reviewed by Kyle

2008 was a fantastic year for technical death metal fans. New releases from Arsis, Psycroptic, Spawn Of Possession and Origin, plus a new Cynic album? Sweet! But 2009 has thus far failed to impress me on the same level that 2008 did. We have had some very good albums from bands like Obscura and Gorod, along with an overrated release from The Faceless, but at this point this year hasn’t held nearly as many quality tech death albums as I had anticipated (I’m still hoping for that new Necrophagist album though!). So in the current absence of a wave of tech death like we had last year, I went searching for technical death albums from earlier years. I discovered some great albums from amazing bands that I’d never heard of before, my favorite of these being Severed Savior.

Severed Savior is a brutal technical death metal band (Bet you didn’t see that one coming) from San Francisco, California. Their arsenal consists of typical death metal growls, lyrics about death and Anti-Christianity, loads of blastbeats, chug-tastic riffs, lots of sweeps, and endless tempo changes. Sounds like pretty standard stuff, right? Wrong. Rather than playing technical death metal that just so happens to be brutal (like most tech death bands), Severed Savior plays standard brutal death metal with a great deal of technicality added in. It sounds much better in practice than it does on paper, and rather than hearing a 45-minute suspended train crash of all the different instruments colliding in chaos that we hear with so many other tech death albums, Severed Savior provides us with eleven perfectly paced tracks in the form of their second full-length release, Servile Insurrection.

The album opens with the song Question, which is probably my favorite track on Servile Insurrection. The lyrics are about the ongoing war between scientists and Christians about whether or not God exists, and it is VERY obvious which side of the debate Severed Savior is on (Hell, just look at the name of the band!). The lyrics are nothing you havn’t heard before, really, but the music is phenomenal. Question begins with a slow, chugging brutal death riff that pulls you into not only the track, but into the entire album, and from there on the music never lets up. While the riffs themselves may not be too original, the way Severed Savior intertwines them with the drums, vocals, and lead guitar is something that must be heard. I’ve never really heard a band like this, and while Severed Savior may seem like a rather standard tech death band on the surface, listening to Servile Insurrection several times and really dissecting the music has its rewards. The songs themselves are, for the most part, fairly diverse; Some tracks rely heavily on technicality and lots of tempo changes (Question, Servile Insurrection), and others on sheer brutality (Spoils Of War and Fecalphiliac, the latter of which being one of the most disgusting songs I’ve ever heard). Deadspeak is another favorite of mine, with some pretty cool riffs and tempo changes, combined with large amounts of brutality. I also really like Severed Savior's solos; they aren’t overly complex, and are often groovy and bluesy sounding, which oddly enough fits well with the music.

As with almost every album in existence, however, there’s a few things I don’t particularly like about this record. My biggest complaint is the vocals; they aren’t bad, really, but it’s the same exact growl you’ve heard on a million other death metal albums, and the vocalist never changes his technique. No shouts, no high-pitched screams, just lots and lots of growling that can start to grate on you after awhile. I also don’t like how the two interludes (Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis and Intervallo Del Tradimento) are placed right next to each other as the fifth and sixth tracks, respectively. The first interlude isn’t very necessary anyway; it’s just fifty-seven seconds of instrumental tech death riffs that the band apparently couldn’t fit into any of the nine “Real” songs on Servile Insurrection. The second interlude is pretty good though, with no less than three acoustic guitars playing in harmony with no vocals, bass, or drums present. It sounds great, and it’s hauntingly beautiful, but it’s a tad too short and is positioned at the worst possible place on the album. My last little complaint is the jazz-fusion breaks that occasionally appear on a few tracks; they seem rather unnecessary to me, and the only reason that I can think of as to why they’re there is to pay homage to the dozens of other tech death bands that have done the same thing before, only better.

Other than the sub-par vocals, I’m really only nitpicking here; there’s not much wrong with Servile Insurrection, and Severed Savior’s technical death metal formula is top notch. I think that almost every fan of death metal can find something to enjoy here, and fans of the genre that decide not to at least give this a listen will be sorely missing out on an original, well-crafted album. Well done, Severed Savior, well done.

Killing Songs :
Question, Rewards of Cruelty, Deadspeak, Servile Insurrection
Kyle quoted 89 / 100
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