If there’s one thing that can be said about Saviours‘ body of work is that it’s energetic. Even though, thematically, they’re singing about dark subject matter and the end of everything we know. With each successive release, riffs are the horsepower under the hood. Never ones to shy away from a formula, the same can be said for their fifth full length, Palace of Vision. Four years have passed since Death’s Procession and the only deviation in sound this time out is a more cohesive album with better production.
Oakland is home to Saviours, as well as another well known riff behemoth, High On Fire. While neither is a carbon copy of one another, they definitely worship at the same altar. Saviours’ riffs continue to nod respectfully at classic heavy metal and the guitar-driven rock of days gone by. Keeping with that thought, possibly the best song of their career, “Burning Shrine”, hits with the speed and fury of Motörhead’s classic song “Overkill”. When Austin Barber and Sonny Reinhardt launch a twin guitar attack early on and then hit a repeating deep, pounding riff verse. It is simply exhilarating. Even though no other track quite reaches this same level of intensity, the effort and energy is certainly there.
The drums on the band’s previous album were too upfront in the mix, sounding extremely sharp and tinny. For the most part they all but stole the show. This time, the production from Billy Anderson smooths the edges. Rather than drown everything else out, Scott Batiste’s percussion shares equal footing with the rest of the band. In addition, Billy is known for the bottom heavy and dense sound he captures with the artists he works with. The best example is in the work of new bassist Andy Anderson. He never gets a solo or a stand out showcase but does a good job with the low frequency. As a result there is a distinctly more solidified sound to this album that was lacking on the last.
The only slight weak point to be found is in the slower, doom-like pair of songs that close the album, “Cursed Night” and “The Seeker”. Amidst the break-neck speed to this point, these tracks seem excessively restrained and somewhat out of place. The immediacy and intensity of Barber’s raspy yells gets knocked down a notch. As does the raucous attitude that seems to come built into every riff and drum kick. It doesn’t drag the album down, it just closes it on a somewhat somber note.
Save for their attempt at slowing things down, Saviours don’t try to reinvent themselves nor step too far out of their comfort zone. On Palace of Vision, they continue down the same path of making high energy metal they’ve been on since their inception.