There is a type of music that is best listened to in a van. It has to be something as large and unwieldy as the vehicle itself, something that echoes well in a smoke-filled cabin, something that is only improved by an airbrushed depiction of the Grim Reaper wrestling a tiger on a Yin Yang in space. Death’s Procession, Saviours' fourth full-length, is just such an album, lumbering forward with strung-out brilliance and bleary-eyed might. Classic heavy-metal thunder, dedicated swagger, and almost-crisp production make this record a triumph for the Oakland quartet.
Opener “The Eye Obscene” is cool albeit predictable, its big bullsdozer riffs and moaned vocals reminding one of Matt Pike at his best. But second track “To The Grave Posessed” really sets the tone for the album, its strained and discordant opening guitar lead channeling the megalomaniacal murkiness of Autopsy and Celtic Frost. From there, each song barrels fist first through metal’s old-school ether: “Fire of Old” and “Earthen Dagger”are Iommi-sized crushers, while “Gods End” begins with what easily could be a Judas Priest riff. The sweeping melodic vocals of closer “Walk To The Light” are the perfect send-off, leaving the listener surprised that the album even has an end--and hungry for more.
Some might say that Saviours are just part of the prog-thrash wave, that their obvious similarities to Mastodon and High on Fire make them another hipster band. The truth is that, on Death’s Procession, Saviours utilize metallic influences that predate, and will easily outlive, current biases towards tight pants, PBR, and Williamsburg. There’s no hype here—these guys rule. Haters should be advised to go take a ride in a van. CHRIS KROVATIN