Reviewed by: Tom Metcalf
Saving Grace is a band that was started in 2005 in the small country of New Zealand. The band started from humble beginnings by playing for friends out of garages and began making a name for themselves that eventually had them signed to Facedown Records.
I had heard of Saving Grace but never had the chance to listen to them before the announcement of their latest offering, ‘The Urgency’. The music was right up my alley, which is Hard-Core/Metal-Core, and I just had to get this CD. I was glad I did! From the very first Track, even the opening riff of “+0”, I said to myself “These guys are Pantera Fans!” and I was absolutely correct. Influences of Dimebag Darrell can be heard throughout this record and their influence did not stop there. They even have a song named “1994”, which is the year ‘Far Beyond Driven’ was released by Pantera, with the ending of the song screaming out that same album title. There was also a recent video on the band’s Facebook page of Phil Anselmo, Pantera’s former singer, holding the new Saving Grace album.
But don’t let the band’s influences think that it influenced their beliefs or lyrical content…….far from it! This band screams the Gospel Truth of Jesus Christ and it can be heard throughout this CD. The band’s songs deal with many personal and social issues including addiction, betrayal, violence and abuse, but the main lyrical focus is on friendship, hope, faith, salvation and redemption from sin, through our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ!
If you’re not aware of this band’s previous albums, like I was, here is a short history. ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ was released in 2008, with their Sophomore CD ‘Unbreakable’ being released in 2010. ‘The King is Coming’ was released in 2011. January 2014 their fourth and current CD, ‘The Urgency’ was released. The artwork on this CD is very cool! Original artwork for ‘The Urgency’ was created by UK artist Colin Marks (Whitechapel, Impending Doom, Oceano, All Shall Perish). The album debuted at #3 on the New Zealand Top 20 albums chart and also debuted at #57 on the Billboard Hard Music Chart and #59 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart in the United States.
Now that the history is out of the way, I can go ahead and rate the songs. If you want a true Hardcore sound then you have found it on this CD. No clean vocals here, just true screaming lyrical content being vomited from Vocalist Nicholas Tautuhi. Guitars are heavy riffed and fast and as I mentioned before you get those hints of Dimebag in the micro solos during some songs. Drums are double kicked to the max integrating them to fully back the heavy riffs from the guitars.
Since I got this CD on its release date I can honestly say that I have listened to it at least 50 times. Why did it take so long to do a review? I wanted to really soak this CD in before giving a true and honest opinion. The CD has grown on me in many ways. When I listened to the CD, the first half of it really did bore me. I mean I loved the riffs and lyrics especially, but to me the riffs were all the same. There was basically no noticeable separation between songs, until the second half of the album. But like I said, after listening to it multiple times I have now started to enjoy the first half of this album and am noticing all of the small musical details between the songs. I would have to say that one of my favorite songs is “Anthem of the Underground”. Just a true, metal rhythm to it that just makes ya do the head bobbing headbang! \m/ Really good for when I am pushing through the end of my workouts! I touched on it briefly before, but the 2nd half this album is just top notch and there is not a bad song on this entire CD. Get ready for a marathon when you get this CD because it does not stop from start to finish! GET IT!!!