Saq - Heavy
10 songs ()
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Tony
Album of the month

Jumping from high school rugby to Division I is not an easy task, even though I was dominant in high school as a fullback and America might not be a top 10 rugby nation (yet), My body is smaller than most wings, at 6’2 185 I carry a lanky frame built for speed and precision but not power. In rugby I have to be as big, as fast, and as strong as I can be. When I hit the pitch and warm up for a clash against the likes of the talented Argentinians, the Brazilian National team, or even a Maori youth all star side (who scared me out of my boots with their rendition of the Haka) I have to be on top of my game both physically and mentally. I have to know which gap to hit and where to place the ball. Yet, I also have to maintain the grit to get my shorts dirty. The combination of speed, skill, power, and mentality all are what I seek to improve each time I hit the weight room or the practice pitch.

With Heavy, the latest opus from South Florida's pride Saq, the band have emerged from the practice space a bigger, faster, stronger, and smarter band.

My allusion to myself and rugby may have been a bit drawn out, but it was important to reiterate just how similar the two activities are, metaphorically speaking. Mike Rivera once again leads his bandmates to conquest and control the SoFla Thrash/Hardcore crowd with Heavy an album that surely deserves the ultimate recognition of a good score on MR and a growing fan base. I don’t think any of you have heard of Saq, but you should pay heed, as this is a band with a truly impressive repertoire of 10 songs that not only are worthy of sitting down and enjoying the sheer talent this band displays, but are also capable of thrashing your head off.

While the recording quality was great on Foul the drums here deservedly receive the knob treatment and are turned up a bit more than the previous record. While the drums aren’t overly technical, they play their part, and are always fitting perfectly along with the riffs. And when I say riffs, I mean it!!! This is a riff machine that bangs your head until your neck is in submission. You’re in for a serious bangover after enjoying this killer. Saq are definitely a guitar driven band. There isn’t enough elaborating I could possibly muster to describe the axe work of Mike Rivera and his ability to not only construct but execute brilliant solos that not only shred, but keep you thinking. Saq give me everything I loved about Foul tenfold, and take the talents of this band several steps ahead, giving me everything I need to score an album high. If I’m going to listen to a Thrash album, it better be heavy, and it better be groovy. Saq don’t disappoint here. Each song builds on their previous accomplishments with Foul but in no way does the band simply recycle their old ideas. Saq take all their strengths and form them into one badass album, while their weaknesses are no longer present. Well, I guess it’s time to explain why Saq built their monolith of brutality out of the foundation of Foul and exactly what makes each song worth listening to over and over and over again.

The first song to open the gates is Brain-Fuqed . The song moves along at a quick pace, asserting itself as a solid album opener. Before suddenly (and I mean surprisingly) breaking into a Flamenco piece. The classical guitar work here is excellent!!! At first I was thinking to myself, “What the Hell just happened???” But about 10 seconds in and the Flamenco settles into your mind as a strangely fitting piece to the song. Right when your senses are relaxed and your mind is lulled to sleep, Brain-Fuqed picks back up and beats the crap out of you before the song settles to a close. Heartworm is a more straight forward riff monster that forces you to bang your head like any good Thrash would do to a real metalhead. This is one of the more straightforward, fast Thrash songs that are missing bells and whistles that you first hear in Brain-Fuqed yet this still is one of my favorite tracks because of the attitude it has and the heaviness it maintains throughout its entirety. This song is quick and short but in the 2:24 it lasts it surely slays. If you look in my profile it says under my preferences and such that I love anything heavy but groovy and variation. By this I mean a speedy opening, before breaking into a heavy palm muted riff, and finally reverting back to the torrid pace that this album displays.

Skipping ahead to track 5 (which doesn’t mean I hate tracks 3 and 4) I’d have to say that this is by far the slowest and marginally the heaviest song. Behold futile listener for Rot is upon us!!! The way Mike Rivera’s vocals (which are improved, but were always good) sound on this track, specifically the way he communicates his linguistics and word pronunciation reminds me of a harsh James Hetfield. Rivera on the mic no longer sounds like a purely Hardcore singer but now sounds like a seasoned vocalist capable of performing versatile roles in the band. Even when performing clean vocals which appear less than they do on Foul , sounding great on Demons, he sounds polished, and he hits vibrato, which beautifully adds flavor to the song.

Back to rugby now. I don’t mean to brag but I can run about 20 MPH (not sure how many kilometers that is but it’s more) which means that in space I can finish off a team if I get a start on their speed guys. I’m not in the lineup for my defense. I close games. Like a Mariano Rivera of sorts. On Heavy Saq clearly see the importance of closing with a bang much like my Coaches see the need for my pace on the outside. While my rugby references may seem like mindless drivel to some, others will understand the metaphorical picture I’m painting for the readers. Saq close with easily their best track ever and an all time favorite of mine: Gabriel’s Fist. This song and a few others have almost a Gothenburg style riffing in portions of the song before entering the chorus which is certainly worth the pain I have in my neck after playing this album for the 6th time through. One last note to make is that not only are the riffs incredible but the solos are just otherworldy. No offense to Gods like Kerry King or Kirk Hammett, but Mike Rivera can run with the top Thrash guitarists out there. The solo on Gabriel’s Fist incorporates anything and everything I seek in a good guitar solo: Great dual guitar harmony, a bit of arpeggio and scale shredding, riffs changing in the background, adding different dimensions to the licks, and finally some lightning fast sweeping. I feel that metal is as important to Florida as our oranges, theme parks, and bikinis. Saq perform a great service for Florida, making us proud to enjoy their sound.

So what if Saq aren’t nationally known. No one heard of Black Sabbath or even Metallica outside of the Bay Area at one point in their careers. Saq deserve to be known, listened to, and seen live. And they certainly deserve my mark for Album of the Month.

Killing Songs :
Brain-Fuqed, Heartworm, Rot, Beatdown, Demons, Gabriel's Fist
Tony quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Saq that we have reviewed:
Saq - Foul reviewed by Tony and quoted 80 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:53 pm
View and Post comments