Published on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 20:44
Album title: Savn
Release date: 13 May 2014
Label: CDR Records
01. Musical Silence
02. Hang On
03. The Demons In Me
04. Longing For Love
05. I Am Free
07. All I Want
08. Now Or Never
09. Lengselens Hånd
10. Hang On (Growling version - bonus)
11. The Demons In Me (Growling version - bonus)
There were a lot of rumours about the possible reuniun of legendary gothic doom metallers The Sins Of Thy Beloved who are dormant since 2000, but nothing happened out of those voices. Instead of that two members, Stig Johansen and Anders Thue returned with a new creation, Savn (in English deprivation). They were joined by Midnattsol vocalist and long-time friend Carmen Elise Espenæs. And if you expected Savn to be just a mere continuation of The Sins Of Thy Beloved you are wrong, neither is something like Midnattsol, so those waiting for something in the vein of The Sins Of Thy Beloved should search somewhere else. The seeds of the band were planted when Stig contacted Carmen to sing on just one song for the planned album,... and the rest is history. Savn doesn't really follow recent trends in female fronted metal, they are saying to be determined to discover new teritories.
Even though their music can be described as a gothic metal, in its core it has many different alloys. Some might find resemblances with early Theatre Of Tragedy, early Leaves' Eyes or even Sirenia, but there are many other layers hidden inside. Superficially might be just like another female fronted gothic/symphonic metal creation, but like in many cases there are houndreds of details built in there that give a complete picture. The instrumental side is impeccable. It's elegant, nicely flowing, great guitar work, althought beign without any solos there are plenty of amazing riffs, perfective drums kicks, amazing and atmospheric synth job, yet everything is put so smoothly together. I must be honest and say that Savn did a bit too much predictable song compositions. On the other hand those searching for catchy melodies will find tons of those and I believe that you'll be obsessed with their beauty for a long time. I was impressed by many celtic/folk music insertions thrown in there by use of fiddles, shining in its best form on the first single "Hang On" and in the melancholic ballad, the only one song sangt in Norwegian - "Lengselens Hånd", but not only there. You'll also find quite a lot of sparkly piano touches and cello sounds to keep everything as dynamic as possible. Carmen delivers her best ever vocal performance, still I would expect just a bit more of passion and power in her voice, but that's easily forgotten when harsher vocals by Stig give company and form a fantastic beauty and the beast duet. I can't forget to mention guest vocalists, the first one beign Michelle Darkness courtesy of End Of Green, with his trademark captivating raspy dark voice on "The Demons in Me". Then of course, Carmen's better known sister Liv Kristine (Leaves' Eyes, ex Theatre Of Tragedy) couldn't be missed in here and the girls joined together in energetic "I Am Free". To be honest it's somehow difficult to distinguish the two as both have kind of same voice colour. The sound is filled up with additional strings and orchestrations performed by Lingua Mortis Orchestra directed by Victor Smolski on "Sorrowful" and before mentioned "Lengselens Hånd". I was surprised that new Espenæs family member Alexander Krull (Atrocity, Leaves' Eyes), who did all the production, mixing and mastering, didn't took his part as a guest singer, but maybe it's better this way, sorry man.
Savn's self titled debut album is a good effort. Even if they claim so this album doesn't really bring any new discoveries in the sole spectrum of female fronted metal bands, but what they do they do it good and it's without doubt one of the recent highlights in this musical field. Krull's production is good as it always was, crystal clear and enough heavy sounding. The trio did one hell of a down to earth album, it's not genre expanding, it's a very safe one, but it's a honest one,... I'm sure that those who liked before mentioned three bands will be more than satisfied with this output, maybe even more if they'll find out the edition with two bonus tracks which happens to be growling versions of songs "Hang On" and "The Demons In Me".
Review written by: T.V.