More quality California tech death… The state is a hotbed of precision brutality with the likes of BRAIN DRILL, DECREPIT BIRTH, ODIOUS MORTEM, EMBRYONIC DEVOURMENT, and a host of others. SEVERED SAVIOR is one band that seems to have grown in stature over time, even though "Servile Insurrection" is the act's first album in five years. "Brutality is Law" gained the band a lot of fans and its follow-up was much anticipated. Truth be told, "Servile Insurrection" didn't blow me away like I thought it would. I simply found it to be another sound death metal release and a fitting addition to the always strong Willowtip roster.
As it turns out, on "Servile Insurrection" SEVERED SAVIOR enlisted vocalist Anthony Trapani of labelmates ODIOUS MORTEM, a match made in DM heaven. Trapani brings a capable growl and his delivery is mostly intelligible, a skill that is often lacking in this particular DM realm.
Musically, the "tech death" tag overstates the arrangement complexity of "Servile Insurrection". That does not mean that players Mike Gilbert (guitar), Murray Fitzpatrick (bass), and Troy Fullerton (drums) have not written some challenging arrangements or do not play their asses off. It means only that groove is not sacrificed for musical chaos and that the guys aren't afraid to ride one of those chunky riffs for a while, rather than flipping the schizoid switch at every juncture. Instead of sweep-overload or constant shred, you'll hear smooth flowing guitar solos that are injected when necessary (and consequently make a much bigger impact). Plenty of riff chunk, controlled pummel, and straight-ahead rhythmic bludgeon are not eschewed either. For example, "Question" and "Spoils of War" provided plenty of slam and punishment purity. "Fecalphiliac" (my personal favorite) actually boasts a recognizable — hell, it's almost catchy — chorus pertaining to the kind of forced "feeding" that makes the fate of the gluttony victim at the hands of Kevin Spacey in "Seven" seem tame.
As for the CYNIC references that keep getting thrown out in reference to SEVERED SAVIOR, that's just hyperbole. Aside from several well-placed light 'n jazzy interludes (inclusive of instrumental track "Intervallo Del Tradimento") what work very well in the context of the arrangements, this is no work of Masvidal wonderment. And that's not a criticism by any stretch. The short of it is that "Servile Insurrection" should satisfy most fans of any of the aforementioned acts, even with the toned down technicality. Maybe not a homerun, but certainly a good album.