Burning Saviours is a name familiar to people following the doom metal scene and rightfully so. You don't simply name yourself after one of the best Pentagram songs and disappoint (or maybe you do, who knows, I am sure there are examples out there). To this day, now including their newest release simply titled: "Death", Burning Saviours have added another immaculate title to their excellent, A-level doom metal catalogue. A thirty-five minutes of brooding, lingering, godless doom perfection.
For those unfamiliar with the band, Burning Saviours hail from Örebro, Sweden, a place which has also blessed us with the famous hardrock/traditional doom suspects Witchcraft, as well as quite a few succesful stoner rock outfits, for those of you who care for a cheeky reference. I guess you could say the band is from the second wave of doom (or third, who ever can keep record of those things) and have been around long enough to have released, in their case, four full-length albums before "Death". As it turns out, I am a bit of a fossil myself as I remember listening to their self-titled album and thinking it sounded quite fresh. It was, of course, released in 2005 when such sound definitely seemed like some fresh breeze, before the so many clones emerged in the swampy waters of the Swedish scene. Surely hearing the warm analogue-reminscent guitar tone and Mikael Monks sounding oh-god-so-much like Bobby Liebling was quite the wow factor. Having that in mind, Burning Saviours haven't by any means changed directions drastically, still keeping the same nostalgic, proto-hardrock sound and analogue vibes with reference to those of us who dig us some seventees sound. I feel like the music has gotten heavier and heavier, though, to culminate into the lamentenius, bewildering, mystic goodness which is the record I am reviewing today.
Let's take "Death" as more of a soundscape than just music. 'Draug' opens up the gates of the wretched land it has set in its own doomspace to walk you through the grim land of everything foul and distant, while fog-like miasmal substances in the air take your soul through this land to lead you on an epic journey of self-realisation and inevitable death.. and Oh, no! You can't see the end of it: "Death has come for you tonight!". Acoustic guitar leads the way, then punishing Sabbath riffage breaks in for some fast realisation that you have smelled the stench of death and have to run. The guitar is typical of traditional doom with more or less a repetitive mid-paced riffage which breaks in in all the right places to introduce some theatrical element while working in perfect unison with the clean vocals. The second track, 'Crusade of Evil' is the more upbeat, more rowdy battle-tune, which in doom often predisposes you and prepares you for historically-themed lyrics of templers, soldiers, etc. taking over some sort of mystic foreign land. Hell yeah, this horse-hoof thundering melody could be heavy metal but is still pained in the darker overtones of doom. After about four of five listens of the album I can say, hands down, the third track, 'Nothing After' is in my top 3 favourite tracks of the album, and favourite Burning Saviours songs ever, probably my favourite of all with the extremely well-executed lyrics that are presented to you as some sort of punishing sermon:
"There is no Light to Carry you home!
You are about to Die Alone" .. "
This is followed by the first longer solo of the album, to add for the perfectly-fitting increasing melancholy. 'Lamentations' is also more upbeat and hoarse vocally, with a classic doom riff, to set the mood for a contender for my favourite tune of the album, or maybe second favourite (will have to split places with 'Nothing After') - 'Death'. The vocals tell the convincing truth that some of us are always on the losing side, or maybe we are all on the losing side because 'no choice is given, you just have to go, the sky turns to grey' since the black winged creatures will take us all eventually. "Death" exits the album with true grace and perfection in the form of largely acoustically-led 'Silence' and 'Finally free', the dream-like tales of forgotten pasts or to be forgotten presents? Melodies that sound like minor-chorded final releases.
The only way I can describe Burning Saviours is: "Joy through Sadness".
Listen and support:
Listen and support: