Review Summary: Saliva’s ability to pull off so many hooks in amongst the combination of aggression & melody is surprisingly impressive in this major label debut which is satisfyingly diverse and has a sufficient strike rate of hits compared to misses.
Throughout the course of their existence, Saliva has provided quite a few songs to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as promotional tools. This actually says a lot about the band, especially in terms of the demographic their music is aimed at; Males aged approximately between 15 and 35. To best sum up the genre that Saliva work within on this 2nd album of theirs (their raw debut was released 4 years earlier) is to probably class it as a mixture of Alt-Metal & Nu-Metal. Although there is a surprising amount of diversity on show here, so it is best not to pigeon-hole them too much.
There is clearly both a borderline poppy side to Saliva, just as much as there is an aggressive nature. Some would see both ends of the spectrum as being superficial and phony, but to discount the band simply for these reasons is superficial in itself. Possibly the best summation of all things Saliva is indeed shown on the opening cut ‘Superstar’. Including a crunching guitar riff and effective vocals that alternate between loud, brash and melodic, all the elements almost give the song a character of its own. It is not outstanding by any means, but it is a very good album opener, while also standing up well in its own right.
For proof of what occurs when everything clicks perfectly with a band of this nature, look no further than the 1st single released from ‘Every Six Seconds’, track 3 ‘Click Click Boom’. Like the opening ‘Superstar’, this was also included as part of the soundtrack to the movie ‘The Fast & The Furious’. Equal parts aggressive and melodic, there is something for almost everyone here as this is hooky, memorable and great for a good old-fashioned sing-along. The same can similarly be said of track 7 ‘Lackluster’ which is especially impressive in sustaining its 5 minute running time.
To their credit, Saliva does not travel down the same path over and over, even if some of the adjustments are indeed variations on the same theme to some extent. 2nd single ‘Your Disease’ uses distorted vocals during the verses to emphasize what is then a very good chorus. While the following track ‘After Me’ employs backing vocals in its excellent bridge to effectively build up to another killer guitar riff that accompanies the successfully aggressive spoken “The Whole World Is After Me” chorus.
What possibly lifts Saliva above similar bands in their genre is the aforementioned guitar playing of Wayne Swinny and Chris D’abaldo, who combine very well to lift some songs that otherwise would be decent album tracks to something significantly better. This is best witnessed on the songs that more resemble mainstream radio-rock tracks such as ‘Greater Than/Less Than’ and the 6 minute closer ‘My Goodbyes’.
Elsewhere, ‘Hollywood’ is a rather interesting track that reminds us that the band originates from Memphis, Tennessee. There are hints of a more southern rock based sound in earlier cuts such as ‘Your Disease’, but it is strikingly apparent in this rather commercialized track that thankfully doesn’t take itself too seriously and is all the better for it due to a catchy chorus and hooky guitar line.
A band of this nature is always going to have it’s misses in amongst 12 tracks and they are apparent here in the form of the forced ‘Musta Been Wrong’, the shallow ‘Faultline’ and the unconvincing ‘Beg’. Worse still is the foray into rap-rock that is ‘Doperide’, which most listeners will struggle to get through. The major things these tracks tell us is that Saliva are still searching for their true sound, while this album is probably 1-2 tracks too long. Finally, if one is looking for deep and meaningful lyrics, then this is not the album to be listening to. Having said that, in most cases, nothing is too awful and lyrics predominantly fit the song being performed.
Overall, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised with Saliva’s major label debut release. It shows great potential for a band of this nature to have an ability to pull off so many hooks (both musically and vocally) while still attempting to add that intense and aggressive touch that reels in their target audience. Furthermore, instead of rehashing the same old song, the band successfully uses diversity to further the album. While this obviously results in the odd misfire, the strike-rate of impressive lead vocalist Josey Scott and Co. is satisfyingly more than sufficient.
Recommended Tracks: Click Click Boom, Lackluster, Superstar and After Me.