by Jonathan Bannister (@j_utah)
The road is hell. It can be a daily struggle to survive for most bands out there plugging away night after night. For Tobias Graves of Soft Kill, it literally became life and death. Headed back from a grueling tour in support of their last album, Tobias Grave’s wife went into labor a month early. After a harrowing bit and almost losing wife and child they managed to pull through. It took some time. During that time Grave chose to channel all that he was feeling into writing new material. The result is that Soft Kill has taken some of the bands personal, darkest moments and turned them into hook heavy, groove-laden music tinged with hope, and put them together and processed through their filter to create their best album to date.
The musical spectrum that Soft Kill works in, for it to work well it needs to be dramatic. It has to feel like it means something. That the words and music exact a toll in blood, sweat and tears and other cliches. Their new album Savior is all of this. It’s music influenced by a fight to save mother and child, the lasting pains of addiction, and the strain of a life on the road. This comes through all over the album. In the perfect opener "Swaddle," in the urgency of the bass on "Missing," making it feel like you might cease to exist if it quits playing. It’s there in that moment three and a half minutes into the title track where it sounds like something you needed to hear exactly at that exact moment and nothing else would do. It’s all over everything about the songs "Trying Not to Die" and "Cry Now Cry Later". Even the titles themselves show that desperation. The way the vocals and music interact, how the buried vocals works with the music, it’s how it’s being sung, the emotion in Grave’s voice, especially when he goes up an octave that conveys all you need to know.
There’s an openness to the music. This is a band showing their wounds but don’t let this make you think it’s a dark night of the soul. A lot of Savior is uplifting swells that makes the music naturally suited to soundtrack your own trying times, late nights, and triumphs. The music pounds and forces its way across your ears. Each track feeling like an anthem. A consistently strong album from start to finish, it’s recommended listening on all levels. An album you’ll find yourself putting on repeat as soon as it’s done.