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Screaming Savior: Infinity

17/05/12  ||  Sokaris

Goddamn does this start out strong. After the intro track “Derivation” we’re treated to “Star of Fatality”, a monument of a song. It’s chock full of aggressive riffing, croaking vocals, unrelenting drums, huge atmospheric keyboards (dat brass!) and it’s topped off with a little bit of well-placed er-hu (two stringed Oriental instrument, sounds like a cross between a violin and weeping) and it culminates into this bizarre evil as shit laughter. This isn’t a bad representation of the album as a whole though it’d be nice to hear more er-hu throughout.

This is orchestral black metal with occasional Far East influences, so the comparisons to Chthonic are inevitable (the band probably didn’t help matters by having a song called “Pray to the Chthonic”) and really, any fan of the Taiwan unit should check out Shanghai’s Screaming Savior. SS have a more pompous, “Anthems …” era Emperor vibe and aren’t generally as aggressive as Chthonic. Sometimes the guitar gets a little drowned out by the orchestration, though the sampling and arrangement is absolutely amazing so its hard to complain too much. The drums are appropriately over-the-top with tons of double kick and the bass fills out the rest of the sonic spectrum. I find the vocals to be the weakest point though for the most part they’re okay. The shouted parts almost work. I like the idea, it adds some drama and emphasizes intense parts but the execution leaves a bit to be desired. Also this guy does the whole crazy laughing gag just a few too many times. I figure everyone gets one per album if they really want to but after that unless you’re King Diamond you should use some discretion.

There are quieter and more reserved moments throughout, though they tend to bear the same sense of giant score-like atmosphere. “Ocean of Asura” even showcases some acoustic guitar with a reverb-drenched guitar melody on top. “Pray to the Chthonic” is a short track that focuses almost solely on a somber yet epic atmosphere, female vocals adorning the main theme. The band should’ve done more moments like these, to balance things out. It would make the over-the-top moments even more effective by showing off the dynamics of their sound more. This contrast in tone is displayed with what follows on “Ode to the Expedition”. This song is like a blackened Turisas, all triumph and pomp with its uplifting major key French horn samples. The riffing gets a little muddy in parts on “Infinity” but the lead guitar tone is immaculate. The production supports this style, everything huge and wide but as far as improvements go I would turn down the vocals a tad and beef up the guitars just a little.

My biggest gripe with this is that the grandiose nature of the songs starts to become a bit exhausting towards the middle of the album. However the last few tracks(not counting the bonus material; one of which is an NES-styled 8-bit rendition of a song) seem to deviate from this sound. It would’ve made more sense to place these songs throughout the album to break things up more.

This came out nowhere and really impressed me. I’m not at all familiar with the scene in China but Screaming Savior are a band that hopefully breaks through worldwide even if only throughout the underground.

8

  • Information
  • Released: 2012
  • Label: Mort Productions
  • Website: Screaming Savior MySpace
  • Band
  • Yang Cheng: vocals
  • Feng Zhongliang: guitars
  • Chen Jiejun: guitars
  • Zhang Yi: bass
  • Tian Shen: keyboards
  • Zhao Ye: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Derivation
  • 02. Star of fatality
  • 03. Sanguinary salvation
  • 04. Wings of the vast sea
  • 05. Ocean of Asura
  • 06. Nacha the demon
  • 07. Pray to the chthonic
  • 08. Ode to the expedition
  • 09. Curse the dreamland
  • 10. Across the boundary of cosmos
  • 11. Ocean of Asura (orchestral)
  • 12. Across the boundaryof cosmos (8-bit)