SAVN – SAVN (2014) – Review

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Here comes SAVN, who was lauded as the breath of fresh air into an already dead (or kind of dead) genre that too many bands tried to ride into oblivion. Well, first of all, it’s not dead. There’s lots of good stuff coming out of it still.

So, what is this Norwegian act Savn? And more specifically, what is their debut album Savn all about? Judging by the creative process to get to a name of the record, not much. 

The band consists of two former members of The Sins of Thy Beloved and the former lead singer of Midnattsol, Carmen Elise Espenaes. The sister of Liv Kristine (Leaves’ Eyes). So this gang should actually be powerful, with seasoned professionals at work. And only good metal will emerge from them. Right?

Actually, the music is not all bad indeed and it holds some good promise. But I daresay, Savn really did not push things as far as they should have. You’ll find some good beginnings, true. Kind of a debut of sorts, but for sure nothing that would herald a new era of Symphonic Metal.

The tunes are (kind of) good, but there’s nothing spicy enough to amaze. In other words, you’ll find a lot of love and hate close together. And I have been listening to this blurb up and down, back and forth. I just fail to be really excited. 

And the mixers and masterers compressed the album almost to death. To a point that Carmen Elise Espenaes‘ voice almost drowns in the rest of this gaggle of instruments, rounded bodice and all. Indeed, the instruments themselves, especially the acoustic ones, do not come out well, either. All of that ends up in some sort of primordial soup of terrors. 
The production is lacking as well. All of that – stuff kind of moves in on an even keel and floats by without variation. And it does depend on what music machine you’re using. More (or very) high-end devices tend to produce a somewhat better output. But – gawd – if you go down the quality chain of your equipment, then the sound just sucks.

And where, oh you lauded musicians, are the stellar guitar solos that rocket us measly listeners and fans the fuck out of our comfy chairs into the space of your music halls? Those have gone missing, like bears during honey harvest time. And then Savn present us with – what do they call it – growls. But it’s all weak tea, very much along the lines of other Symphonic Metal outfits that just did not cut it on that front. 

And now, to top it, I just learned – somewhat to my unending dismay – that they have been nominated on Terra Relicta – Dark Music Awards for their track Hang On. Dafuq, folks. On the other hand, Musical Silence and – trumpets blaring – Hang On would indeed get on the preferred list of this album. The latter one has one of the better passages in it. So I guess this is why it got its nomination.

But – in truth – I am Free is actually the best track in this here land of sorrows. The Demons in Me sounds like some non-electronic, but poppy version of Blutengel of sorts, down to the weird accent for the English used. And frankly – some of that reminds me of times past. Like later productions of Mike Oldfield, when he came out of his single musician psycho-stupor and started to do some music. All I Want would be a good example for that.

But I do like Lengselens Hånd in a kind of geeky way. It does have a fairy quality to it, believe it or not. AND Espenaes’ voice and reach finally comes out on this track much better. Also, the production of this here track is actually the best of all. Of course, not a trace of metal. Well, okay, a little bit towards the end. 

SAVN covers mostly some bland production of a music type you would like to forget as fast as it appeared! Too much synth pop at a level so low that even Amaranthe would not attempt to get to. No surprises, no spice, and a bunch of definitely talented musicians not delivering to the best of their abilities and qualities. But a lot of the blame goes to whoever mixed and produced this questionable piece. I just do not get it! This could have been so very good. But isn’t for some reason.

Well, let’s hope SAVN will wake up for good for their follow-on album. And deliver a much more tuned-up and thoughtful production for their next brainchild. I have not yet given up hope that they will improve, but just about.

All the signs for improvement are there! So, please, please me. I can feel your energy, but: It.Just.Don’t.Come.OUT!!

Record Rating: 2/10 | Label: CDR Records | Web: Facebook (band)
Release date: 25 April 2014

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