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Predictable California Tech Death - 72%

ExNihilos, April 22nd, 2010

I'm a technical death metal fiend. I eat this **** up, whether it's from debut artists or from established masters of the subgenre. Severed Savior, just like every other band from California, is so ridiculously predictable by this point that it's going to be tough to even write about their most recent album without retracing what I said in other reviews.

Suffocation used to be the staple for brutal/technical death metal, and it's pretty easy to see their influence throughout Severed Savior's discography. However if you listened to Severed Savior's quite brutal (and also quite technical) album Brutality Is The Law, then you might be disappointed with what you hear on Servile Insurrection. Sweep-picking, brutal riffs, Suffocation-esque vocals, plenty of neo-classical solos, dissonance, and a few random jazz sections, what's not to like? It's missing some of that essential brutality. This seems to be the trend in most technical death and especially with Californian technical death metal.

That's not to say Servile Insurrection is lacking any quality moments. The intro track “Question” and “Inverted And Inserted” really bring the brutality. There's also an interesting transition about halfway through the album where the listener is treated to a 57 second instrumental track followed by a 50 second acoustic track. It's a welcome break from the fierceness of the previous tracks and sets the mood for the latter half of Servile Insurrection. “Acts Of Sedition” is Severed Savior at their fastest and “Spoils Of War” is Severed Savior at their catchiest. These last few tracks are memorable despite the album having that feel of “been there done that.”

I should be giving this a more careful listen, but after a few spins I just don't hear what separates Severed Savior from the rest of the Californian tech death scene. Perhaps it's their brutality on the previous release, or perhaps it's the overbearing influence of their music on other artists, but whatever makes Severed Savior special sure as hell didn't make Servile Insurrection stand out.

Brutal tech bliss - 90%

autothrall, November 2nd, 2009

I was first introduced to Severed Savior through a former band mate and co-worker, who owned their debut Brutality is Law. I thought that album was a decent dose of USDM with a style reminiscent of earlier Cryptopsy. And now the follow up has arrived, and its even better, an impressive offering of technical death metal, fast and dynamic and rich with intense atmosphere.

Like Psycroptic and earlier Cryptopsy, these guys are both competent and unforgiving. There is so much going on here that it took me a few spins to truly comprehend. "Question" sets the pace with its whirlwind streams of brutal picking, hyper bass lines and intense drum discharge. "Inverted and Inserted" (great song title) reminds me of Pestilence and Deathrow if they were forced to form a band together and play brutal, modern death. The brutal groove of "Fuck the Humans" almost killed me. After all, they are right. Fuck the humans!

What else can I really say? I've got no complaints with this, it's probably the best technical death metal record delivered this year, and one of the best ever. It's an easy candidate for my year's end top list. So much going on that I'll be able to enjoy it for many listens to come. The cover art is also quite fetching. If you like technical death metal at all, Service Insurrection offers 11 tracks of the very best the genre has to offer at the moment, each a standard of excellence that many other bands can only aspire to. Absolutely essential listening here. Enjoy!

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Brutal Death Metal Meets Progressive Death Metal - 60%

Shirt_Guy, January 26th, 2009

Man, I know there’s going to be some people in the death metal underground pissed off at “Servile Insurrection”. Probably be the same people unhappy with Decrepit Birth when they went all progressive death metal. But hey, I don’t want to get hung up on what’s perceived as trendy these days.

If I do recall correctly, Severed Savior’s previous albums were brutal death metal. You know, it’s BROOTAL! Time shifts, death metal breakdowns and lyrics hanging more towards the gory side, but here we actually have a mix of progressive and brutal death metal. The jazzy clean interludes, an acoustic passage, some big runs and fancy fretwork between the simpler tremolo picking, and those guitar solos show off a bit too. The combination of the progressive slant with all the Smith blasts, plus a few other drumming choices brings “Servile Insurrection” to being pretty similar to Neuraxis. From a lyrical standpoint, you can see the band trying to spread out a bit more, attempting to make some of the gore themes a bit more intelligent, and other times reverting back to the good old brutal style we’re used to, but for the most part, both the brutal and progressive sides are standard and lack depth. Yeah, I know, not that it’s much of a concern in the world of death metal.

It’s a cool concept, making both a progressive and brutal death metal album, yet in many ways you’ve likely heard many death progressive death metal bands with a hint of the brutal variety. Fair enough.

Originally posted at www.waytooloud.com

Another great 2008 tech death release - 92%

Lustmord56, January 3rd, 2009

Review originally posted at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas

Though some may consider The East coast and Florida the main stays of US death metal, but for the home of technical, brutal death metal, you need to consider that in California there are such amazing death metal acts as Deeds of Flesh, Vile, Brain Drill, Decrepit Birth, Odious Mortem and Severed Savior, who after five years have finally released the follow up to Brutality is Law.

Personally, I thought Brutality Is Law was a pretty standard Unique Leader affair, but on the Willowtip released follow up, Severed Savior have appeared to make a Decrepit Birth like development and evolution in their already technical brutal sound. Like Decrepit Birth, Severed Savior also recruited an Odious Mortem member to help out, vocalsit Anthony Trapani, he along with the addition of Mike Gilbert on Guitars to the core of bassist Murray Fitzpatrick and drummer Troy Fullerton appears to have added some flare and memorability to Servile Insurrection.

Like Psycroptic’s Ob(Servant) earlier this year, and Decrepit Birth’s Diminishing Between Worlds, Servile Insurrection simply raises the bar for what can be done with technical/brutal death metal nowadays. Stupefying complexity melds with pummeling brutality and even some unexpected tangents (i.e end of opener “Questions”, “Servile Insurrection”). However, while the band has musically evolved and developed some truly jaw dropping music, and even melodies, the lyrics not penned by Trapani appear to revert back to 8th grade (”Fecalphilliac”). Musically though, the likes of “Inverted and Inserted”, “Rewards of Cruelty”, “Fuck the Humans”, “Acts of Sedition”, “Spoils of War” and the closing title track are at times, simply jaw dropping in their execution, heaviness and complexity. Even interlude “Intervallo del Tradimento” is superbly done. And whereas some of Ob(Servant)’s tracks overstayed their welcome, Severed Savior keep all their assaults in the 3-4 minute range.

The only downside to this spectacular addition to 2008s already superb death metal releases s that, partially to the punishing but familiar Zach Ohren production and the swapping of members, some of these bands sound a little similar, and frankly playing this side by side to say, Odious Mortem’s Cryptic Implosion, it was difficult to tell which was which.

Not a bad problem to have though….

Sterile Insurrection - 71%

Daru_Jericho, December 1st, 2008

Half a decade since the release of their debut full-length recording, Californian death metallers Severed Saviour have returned with their sophomore album Servile Insurrection. Like Brutality is Law, fans can expect technical brutal death metal to the most unpredictable degree.

Most of the anthems on this album sew together technical death metal time changes and intricate riff detailing with archetypical brutal death metal chugga-chugga riffing. There is a semblance of melody inscribed into the technical aspect of the music and the instrument song ‘Intervallo Del Tradimento’ is composed entirely of acoustic guitar work, sounding more like later acoustic Opeth with Hispanic decoration.

The drumming of Troy Fullerton is impeccably inhuman, particularly on the frenetic ‘Fuck the Humans’. Perhaps an indication of the band’s influences, a passage in this song is very much straightforward progressive metal with sinister undertones.

Whilst Severed Saviour try to cram the entire death metal genre into a single militant song, therein lays their problem. A lack of variation is evident, particularly towards the end of the album with songs sounding remarkable but unmemorable. The title track contains a jazzy break but it is awkwardly placed within the death metal music. The opening song ‘Question’ concludes with a jazz passage but comes across as witty, a self-reflective after-thought. Evidently, five years was not sufficient enough time to accumulate a solid inventory of varying ideas.

Originally written for www.soundshock.net