Savior Servant - _Savior Servant_
(Dominion Records, 1997)
by: Aaron McKay (8.5 out of 10)
Subtract a point or two from the score if your entire CD collection consists of nothing but Broken Hope, Napalm Death and Massacre, with only Dimmu Borgir's _Stormblast_ for mood inducing delectability. I feel the need to quote Sacred Reich here by way of "31 Flavors", from 1990's _The American Way_ release, when Phil Rind articulates: "There is so much for you to choose; don't just be a metal dude; it's cool (fool)." Very much like labelmates Mercury Rising [CoC #34], Savior Servant provides a magnificent lion's share of straightforward power metal. I will say this, melodic passages run wild through this release. Often, throughout the song, overwhelmingly thick guitar passages are harshly paused, in lieu of which are used much softer acoustic harmonies. Leonardo Cancela's vocals remind me of a hybrid blend of Brian Troch from Cyclone Temple's _I Hate Therefore I Am_ period and the late Ray Gillen of Badlands. Impressive vocal work indeed, second only to the successful accompaniment of fellow New York bandmates Rob DeForge (guitar), Eric Weingartner (bass), and Chip Rainone (drums). Now and again, I am reminded by this release, at certain points, of Forced Entry's _Uncertain Future_. I will grant you Savior Servant are dramatically less heavy than Forced Entry, but still the argument can be made for the comparison. A very nice feather in SS's cap too, I might think. I must, at this point, convey that the production on this disc is unbelievable. But what did I expect from a guy that produced both Screaming Blue Messiahs and Stewart Copland? Ernie Wilkens' efforts at Sea Front Recording for this release deserve at least a mention, if not an ovation, depending on your open-mindedness. Take this to heart, you could be that -enormous- individual that stood in front of me at the Black Sabbath / Motorhead / Morbid Angel show on the University of Maryland's campus for all I care, but if you, as a sincere metal worshipper, have -ever- said to yourself, "Damn, that (pick one: Queensryche, Iced Earth) song ain't half bad," then maybe a listen to Savior Servant might be something that you won't hate. SS are a powerful quartet and certainly worthy of 38 minutes and 17 seconds of your time, at least once.

(article published 19/11/1998)

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