Savior Servant

Savior Servant

Dominion Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/02/1997

Ambiguity is not always something that should be strived for.

There is a certain lack of decision that can be heard on the debut album from New York-based Savior Servant -- whether to be a balls-out metal band or to step back from the now-taboo genre and work on crafting songs. And while there are moments on this album that would justify the band going in either direction, I kind of wish they had stuck with one vein on this outing.

Savior Servant starts off a bit slow with "Trippin'," a song which I just could not get into. But just one number later a sonic barrage of guitar chords lets you know that you're entering a new zone on "Alleytown"; it is at times like this that Savior Servant could be considered a metal band.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The problem is, they constantly straddle the fence between metal and pop, as if they weren't sure which way they should be going. And while some of the softer numbers work (like the album's closing track "Stillborn"), others just fail to light a fire under the listener (like "Inner Sage").

But it is when you hear the intensity of the guitar riffs that you know which direction this band should take. "Wimstis" captures a ferociousness musically that other bands would kill to be able to copy. In fact, the middle of Savior Servant contains some of the band's stronger moments; "Reflections," "In My Head" and "Tin Can Alley" all show the power of this band very well.

Leonardo Cancela's vocals seem to have a hint of frustration in them at times, as if he wanted to burst forth and let loose. But I almost think that it's better that his vocals were more constrained; all-out shouting would have taken away from the moments of power that worked in the band's favor. Guitarist Rob DeFerge occasionally whips out some crunchy guitar riffs, but I would have preferred to hear him take more of a chance on his axe and fire off at least one killer solo.

In fact, had Savior Servant been willing to take more chances and put a little more "oomph" into this album, I think it would have been a stronger release. But the apparent unwillingness to settle on just one style weakens the foundation a bit. Keep in mind, though, that this is only a first effort; with a little more experience will come the courage to follow convictions and take chances.

Savior Servant should be a strong contender for your entertainment dollar given a little more time together and experience, both in the studio and on the road. This album shows a little bit of that future -- but it needs a coat of paint or two.

Rating: C+

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© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Dominion Records, and is used for informational purposes only.