Saviours - Accelerated Living
Kemado Records
Stoner Metal
9 songs (49:53)
Release year: 2009
Kemado Records
Reviewed by James
Surprise of the month

For whatever reason, despite touring with the likes of Mastodon and The Sword, Saviours seem destined to be the nearly men of stoner metal, being passed over in favour of hipster-friendly acts like Baroness. Which is a shame, as Saviours have a suitably gnarly sound, slowing prime Slayer down to a more mid-paced chug and running it through a filter of sonic sludge and marijuana smoke. Right off the bat, Acid Hand kicks off Accelerated Living with stomping 80s metal riffage, taking a detour halfway through into ugly sludge-thrash. Throughout its duration, Accelerated Living tries to strike a balance between a denim-jacketed 80s sound and a bell-bottomed, acid-fried 70s vibe, and for the most part, it succeeds, with second track We Roam countering the opener with Thin Lizzy harmonies and riffs that wouldn't sound too out of place on say, the last Priestess album. The guitar has enough bite to lend definition to the palm-muted chugging, with enough low-end swampiness to keep the slower riffs as hefty as they should be. The only weak link is vocalist Austin Barber, who sounds like a hardcore vocalist (fitting, as he did time in post-hardcore lot Yaphet Kotto) trying to imitate either Lemmy on the fast bits and Ozzy on the slow ones. He's not awful, but he's not got the guttural yawp this music requires.

What he is, however, is a great guitarist, and Accelerated Living shines off the back of the storming riffs and leads he lays down all over the record. And he's diverse, too, every song on Accelerated Living having it's own distinctive feel, yet each one falling squarely under the Saviours umbrella. Livin' In The Void doesn't stray too far from it's swinging main riff, yet Barber uses it as a base from which he can go all-out, lighting up the track with blazing leads. Elsewhere, Burnin' Cross and Slave To The Hex show a passion for Motorhead and Venom (and there's a lot of Cronos in Barber's punky barking, and a lot of Abaddon in the wonderfully sloppy drumming). Indeed, the album gradually moves towards a more classic heavy metal sound, although there's always a hint of the sludgy evil prevalent on the early tracks. Still, the rumbling heavy metal thunder of Apocalypse World Spirit sucks you right back in if you're the sort of person who finds the pure 70s revivalism of The Rope Of Carnal Knowledge a bit lightweight.

In today's heavy metal climate, it's genuinely strange Saviours haven't garnered themselves more attention. They've got the retro attitude of their thrash-revival peers, coupled with the raw, stoner attitude of High On Fire. And with Accelerated Living, they've got a remarkably consistent, powerful album behind them. And as Eternal High crashes to a close, I'm left with the feeling that I've stumbled across an undiscovered gem. Saviours are exactly the sort of hard-working, honest heavy metal (they're dedicated road warriors, gigging whenever and wherever they can in the past few years) that deserves every bit of critical acclaim it gets. If you've exhausted 2009's hyped metal releases, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Accelerated Living.

Killing Songs :
James quoted 87 / 100
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