So the story goes that Oakland’s finest noise makers, Saviours, formed in 2004 during a ‘vision quest’. After some unhappy times in previous bands, founding members Auston Barber (guitar and vocals) and Scott Batiste (drums) took some time out to get deep. The result was that both the band’s name and the concept for a no-nonsense heavy band, with occult elements, came to them fully formed. Result.
Saviours used to be generally labelled (wrongly) as stoner rock. What they actually play is good old fashioned (very) heavy metal. They clearly listen to early Metallica and the late 70s classic rock bands that influenced Metallica too. Add in the best riffs from old German thrash and the raw fury of barked Motorhead vocals and you have a very potent mix. They’re greasy, denim-clad dudes playing obnoxiously loud songs about Armageddon and partying hard before the end comes. The new album seems to be pretty much all about this topic and I can’t get enough of the massive
In person the band are deadly serious about the music and even more serious about having a great time when on the road. The best metal should always have a fun vibe either on or off stage and being able to party extremely hard is pretty much as important as the music. Both Mastodon and The Sword have taken them to Europe for long tours, and now Saviours are basically on a permanent headline trek themselves. Here’s a fun video from their last album.
Metal seems to be slowly on the upswing all around. I’m talking about classic, ‘true’ metal like Sabbath, Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica and the best bands that followed their lead. This isn’t a new thing. Metal has been a big genre since Sabbath popularised leather-clad head-banging in the very earliest ’70s. There has alway been a steady reserve of smelly and nerdy guys (and girls) who’d die for it, including myself. And like many metallers growing up I was into the riffs and imagery but I also liked the slight sense of being an outsider.
But there has been something of a shift recently. You would have noticed that metal has been creeping into mainstream fashion, culture and popularity for the last few years. Black Sabbath shirts are now sold in H+M, pop stars wear vintage classic rock shirts and studded old school denims are on the coolest kids everywhere. It’s a little weird but I’d rather people were into it than something else. If you really get into it there’s so much good music that it shouldn’t become a passing fad.
But in the US and Europe they seem to be diving headlong into it with decent heavy bands of various types springing up all over the place. Saviours are definitely helping to lead this metallic charge. And having formed in 2004 they are relative veterans. Their excellent new album ‘Accelerated Living’ is super chunky and arguably their best so far. As they continually tour and pick up new fans their choice of name makes complete sense. Bow down to the saviours of the almighty riff!