Invisible Birth of Death
- Year 2015
- Genre Sludge
- Country USA
- Label Deathbound Records
- Rating Excellent
Athens, Georgia’s Savagist has been on my radar since the middle of 2013 when the band came through Baltimore and absolutely blew me away with their take on sludge and heavy hitting rock ‘n roll. Their most recent release at the time was ‘Domestic Becoming Feral’ from 2012, a five song effort that encompassed everything from bottom heavy sludge to hyper speed thrash, and it found its way into my stereo on a regular basis. In 2015 Savagist returned with a self-released full length titled ‘Invisible Birth of Death’, and a little less than a year after it originally came out the album has been picked up by Deathbound Records. And it couldn’t be a better effort for these guys to get additional support for, as ‘Invisible Birth of Death’ is even more dynamic than before and finds Savagist pushing outside of the usual sludge template a bit more often than their peers.
unlike most bands that simply create this heavy Earth shattering sound and stop there, Savagist proves to be much more interesting
There’s still plenty of crushing sludge at the heart of this band’s material, but they’ve expanded outwards and built additional elements around this base in order to give their music a much more versatile feeling. The sludge aspects on ‘Invisible Birth of Death’ are reminiscent of bands like Black Cobra, as there are similar types of extremely heavy grooves and faster breaks that often hit without warning. Though the instrumentals don’t go into the hyper speed transitions quite as frequently as they did on ‘Domestic Becoming Feral’, there are still enough moments of aggressive shredding and foundation shaking tonality to please anyone with an interest in this genre. But unlike most bands that simply create this heavy Earth shattering sound and stop there, Savagist proves to be much more interesting. Whether it’s the move into softer adventurous sections that give listeners a chance to stop and reflect on everything the band has to offer or some of the straight up rock ‘n roll grooves that sneak in on certain songs, the entire record feels like it’s always ready to go off on a more adventurous path and is never content to simply retread the same ideas. Fangs That Drip Venom even decides to sneak in some riffs towards the end that go fully into black territory, which caught me by complete surprise the first time through. It does seem like ‘Invisible Birth of Death’ ends a bit too quickly, as the thirty three minute length seems to fly by a bit too quickly, but that could just be a testament to how engaging the material is as it leaves you wanting even more.
Guitarist Clem Adams also serves as Savagist’s lead singer, and he has a harsher scream that to my ears comes through somewhere between the pitch of a sludge and noise rock vocalist. It’s an appealing combination, as there is plenty of aggression and intensity to the performance but it’s delivered in a way that makes it a bit easier to make out the words. Adams is backed up by some slightly lower ranges from bassist Daniel Shroyer that helps to further fill out the sound, and both pitches have been mixed on the recording so that they come bursting out of your speakers and grab you right by the throat. One of the biggest differences on ‘Invisible Birth of Death’ compared to the group’s previous material is cleaner vocal ranges, which come through during some of the softer moments and help to further give the band an identity of their own. They’re still used a bit sparingly though, only coming in during key sections, and it is something I’d like to see Savagist use more of as they pull off the cleaner sections extremely well.
Georgia’s been responsible for plenty of great sludge bands over the years and I think it’s definitely time to add Savagist to that list. They’ve taken their ideas to the next level on ‘Invisible Birth of Death’, providing the heavy as hell sludge grooves and faster breaks genre fans look for while also branching out into mellower rock and experimental territory that helps to set them apart. It does seem to end a bit too quickly and leave you wanting more, but that’s plenty of reason to give this record one spin after another and hopefully with the additional distribution from Deathbound 2016 will find these guys continuing to gain new fans.