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Mainstream American metal cca 2007 from Kazakhstan - 85%

brianwilliams82, March 17th, 2023
Written based on this version: 2022, Digital, Independent

As the first Kazakh band I've ever (knowingly) heard, Savage Soul have left a good impression. It is important to note what this band actually sounds like, though. The band's most obvious influences are Machine Head's catalogue up to and including 'The Blackening' (minus the controversial 'nu-metal' albums) along with Ascendancy-era Trivium.

The album is anchored in the groove-thrash riffage that Robb Flynn and company brought to prominence in the mid-nineties although on several occasions they go faster than early MH generally did. Vocalist Alex sticks to aggressive shouts for the most part but often strays too close to his influences; on many occasions throughout the album I thought I was hearing either Matt Heafy or Robb Flynn himself, such were the tonal similarities. Nonetheless, the aggressive vocals are satisfactory throughout; it's the few attempts at clean vocals that are not quite there yet. This is most apparent at the start of 'Coma', which strikes me as an attempt at a 'Days Turn Blue to Gray' or 'Now I Lay Thee Down' style track. The attempt at singing in this track also uncovers a few ESL and pronunciation problems which the harsh vocals successfully mask; this isn't a dealbreaker but I'd advise the band to pay more attention to this in the future.

Savage Soul do mix things up a little bit with 'Our Charge Is Out' (more ESL fun?) which is noticeably more djent-y than anything else on the album. The sinew-y leadwork that brings the title track to a close brings to mind classic-period Gojira but things really kick off for Savage Soul when they jack up the speed; tunes like 'Through Time' and especially 'Execution' are absolutely lethal. Maybe it's just the thrasher in me that loves the speed but either way, I'd love to see the band focus on the fast stuff in the future.

So, there you go. I hope that from my review you'll have a good idea of whether this is for you or not. If mainstream American metal from about 15 years ago does not float your boat then I'd advise skipping this. If, however, you have a soft spot for the bands I've mentioned then give this a whirl - it might surprise you!