Album Review :
Saving Grace - Unbreakable

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Band: Saving Grace

Title: Unbreakable

Label: Strike First Records

Release Date: 2010

Review By: Steve

Tracklisting:

  1. End Of Days (Intro)
  2. Unbreakable
  3. Bury Me in Jimenez
  4. The Disgusting Maw
  5. Pukelips
  6. Where It Rains
  7. The Eye Of The Storm II (Interlude)
  8. Oaxaca
  9. All, But The Archer
  10. The Listener
  11. Bound By Blood
  12. The Determined Drunk

To say I was a little nervous to listen to the promo album I got from Strike First Records is an understatement.  I have Saving Grace’s previous album Behind Enemy Lines, which I thought was about as good as any band could do on a debut album.  So many bands put out a good album and then fall flat on all subsequent albums.  In addition, I was a little confused as to why Facedown didn’t put them on their established label, Facedown label, and instead signed them to Strike First Records.  Maybe I was on the only one that thought this band might have something special going on.  Ok, enough worrying!  Just listen to the dang tracks!

Let’s just say the four-piece metalcore band out of New Zealand more than answered the call.  This is one of the few albums that I actually really liked from the very first listen.  Most albums I listen to are ok the first time around and then gradually start to grow on me.  By about the fifth time through the album I was really wanting to move around and slam into some people or even start smashing some stuff on the floor in a fit of metal rage.  So I guess that would mean that this is a pretty good album.  Ok so maybe I still don’t know why Saving Grace is on Strike First and not Facedown but they will be soon enough.

One of the things I first noticed about Unbreakable was that it was produced and mixed better than Behind Enemy Lines.  It really feels like vocalist Nicholas Tautuhi is ticked off and growling at me personally.  That is one of the parts about Saving Grace and Unbreakable that I have always really liked—deep growling vocals.  Unbreakable is laced with heavy breakdowns that will encourage any audience to start a pit and bang some skulls.  By the looks of the Saving Grace members, they could more than clear out a pit.

As far as lyrics go, Saving Grace is not ashamed of telling you how it is.  No metaphors used here for the listener to try and interpret, just hardcore this is who Jesus is and He loves you.  In “The Disgusting Maw,” Tautuhi mixes the vocal arrangement up with the slower deeper growls and then speeds it up for a few lines with some higher screams (and by higher I don’t mean falsetto!  I couldn’t imagine a falsetto metal song).  In this track Saving Grace talks about how true beauty is within and not from our outward appearance.  The first verse is my favorite on the whole album.  It says, “From the moment that you were born you’ve been shown aesthetic perfection and told that you’re nothing if not that / force fed vanity by the media and it’s lies / so you hide your heart and you hide your face / buried beneath six feet of mascara / building your life on one single layer of foundation.”

Right now I have four favorite tracks off of Unbreakable: “Unbreakable,” “The Disgusting Maw,” “Where It Rains,” and “The Determined Drunk.”  The track “Unbreakable” was also recorded on a split EP with Upheld released in 2006.  This time around, “Unbreakable” has a lot more color and flare added to it.  What sets these tracks apart from the rest of the album is the speed and ferocity with which Saving Grace plays them.  These songs are by far the hardest and fastest songs on the album.  In addition to better production and mixing, Saving Grace also tightened up their instrument play, which makes it a lot crisper than their previous work.

I would say that the only thing I don’t like about Unbreakable is the album artwork and the intro and interlude.  For some reason I am not a fan of intros and interludes.  Give me some more brutal vocals and don’t tease me!  However, you take those 2 tracks away and you still have a great 10-track album.

Overall: Saving Grace has put together an excellent sophomore album.  This brutal album is sure to please any metalcore fan out there.  If you like fast, furious, hard-hitting music, then you need to buy this album.  In my opinion, this is one of those bands that just might have that X factor that not many bands have.  Only time will tell…

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