Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New Album Helps Saliva "Rise Up" After Departure of Original Singer

If ever the odds were stacked against a band, 2014 found Saliva at a point where a high percentage of their peers met their demise.  They were more than a decade past a career highlight - the 2002 nomination of their song "Your Disease" for the Best Hard Rock Performance Grammy - and had recently parted ways with  founding vocalist, Josey Scott.

But rock-n-roll is about beating odds and stereotypes and Saliva set out to beat both with their latest release, Rise Up, their first with new singer, Bobby Amaru.

The title track kicks off the album with a song concocted from the  classic Saliva formula.  And it's good.  But "She Can Sure Hide Crazy" triumphantly ushers in a new era for Saliva.  The song has a fresh, modern sound that doesn't necessarily clash with the old Saliva style, but does emphatically communicate that the album isn't going to be about playing it safe and simply regurgitating the early catalog with a new voice.

"No One But Me" continues the theme of forward musical progress and separation from the past.  Even if you were hoping for a carbon copy of Josey Scott-era Saliva, you'd be hard pressed not be impressed with the new sound and the new songs.

"Lost" is a great dark, rock ballad showing Saliva's depth.  The song ends climatically, really showcasing Amaru's ability to deliver emotion in a vocal.

Like "She Can Sure Hide Crazy," "Redneck Freakshow" revives the lost art of creative song titles.  Coincidentally or not, those songs are among the best and catchiest on the album, both with killer grooves and anthemic choruses.

Throughout the entire album, Amaru is spewing out great melodies and interesting lyrics, perhaps no lyrics as interesting as in "The Enemy" - a song describing the trials of being the new boyfriend of a lover on the rebound:  "Lay your armor down, come into the light/Can’t hide forever with his shadow by your side/I wish I would’ve known I’d always be the one/Buried in the wreckage from a past you can’t outrun."

Whether the public reacts to Rise Up with knee-jerk disappointment over the band replacing its original singer or excitement over the new energy that the current line up has put on record, Saliva has done everything it could do to beat the odds.  With quality song after quality song, Rise Up stands above almost every hard rock album released thus far in 2014 and gives the band the chance to recapture the type of success that has eluded them since their early days.