Review Summary: Not quite a return to their very best, but this survival album clearly betters their previous two misfires.
Not too dissimilarly to bands such as Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit and Papa Roach, Memphis quintet Saliva were responsible for many a teenage ear being exposed to a heavier brand of accessible music at the turn of the century. Whether it was via radio airplay, movie soundtracks, video games or World Wrestling Entertainment themes, it seemed that Saliva were everywhere and had a clear demographic in mind. While early albums 'Every Six Seconds' and 'Back Into Your System' were solid and produced some "stunner" tracks such as 'Click Click Boom' and 'Always', the two following releases saw the band hit "rock bottom" and left Saliva's career seemingly headed for an early "tombstone".
Nostalgia is very much an intangible factor in music though and it occasionally results in sensible people giving the time of day to albums which they otherwise would not. It most often leads to a predictable "What was I thinking back then?" lack of enthusiasm and very rarely will produce an unexpected pleasant surprise. With Saliva's sixth full-length release 'Cinco Diablo', they do not quite return to their very best form of six or seven years ago, but they do clearly better their previous two LPs to make a rather enjoyable album.
As if to give a nod to the aforementioned nostalgia, lead single and album opener 'Family Reunion' not only has the Nu-Metal sound of many previous Saliva tracks, but also lyrically plays on the theme with the opening lyrics - "Ladies and gentlemen" - being exactly the same as the opener from 'Blood Stained Love Story'. Furthermore, the song is practically one big message of thanks to the loyal fans who still follow the band.
It is a little concerning that the same old template of angry (rap-rock tinged) verses and melodic choruses, surrounded by fist-pumping backing vocals and riffs, is still evident in much of Saliva's work. This is especially the case when it results in unremarkable, if not awful, cuts such as 'Best Of Me', the social commentary of 'Im Coming Back', the aggressively melodic 'Hunt You Down', and the Jekyll & Hyde characteristics of 'My Own Worst Enemy' which features guest vocals from Shinedown's Brent Smith. Also back for another retread is the Southern Rock that almost choked this album's predecessor. Fortunately, it only occurs once here in the form of 'Southern Girls', which is that regions predictable, if strangely likeable, response to the timeless 'California Girls'.
The thing that often disappoints with Saliva is that with their ability to pull off an anthemic chorus and distinctive riff, it only requires a little more song-writing care and imagination to result in a strong piece. They prove that here on album highlight 'Judgment Day', a lyrically impressive war song which Josey Scott sings from the perspective of a soldier. Topping the cut off nicely is a bluesy sounding solo which fits the song perfectly. In fact, the guitar work of Wayne Swinny and Jonathan Montoya on 'Cinco Diablo' is effective throughout, with many solos finding the right balance of being attention-seeking while not going over the top.
Of course, there are also the trademark Saliva ballads, which are for the most part a strength of this album due to their diversity. 'How Could You' is a decent attempt to recreate 'Always' with a touch of Hinder's 'Lips Of An Angel'. 'Forever And A Day' is an 80's hair-metal power-ballad that comes complete with piano and a chorus that could be the plot of a chick-flick. However, it is closer 'So Long' which fares best. At nearly five minutes in length, this sweeping stab at something resembling Coldplay meets U2 is borderline epic. Filled with piano, acoustic guitars and lush production, this is a mini-revelation that provides hope for Saliva's future.
With 'Cinco Diablo', Saliva are not looking to redefine musical boundaries, nor are they necessarily attempting to score millions of new supporters. This is a survival album which sees the band fighting for their future by trying to win back some of their loyal fans lost after their previous two misfires. To that extent, there is a more than sufficient mixture of trademark Saliva strengths combined with decent diversity (especially in the album’s latter half) that should see the band continue on in their current livelihoods. If only for nostalgic reasons, that is a good thing.
Recommended Tracks: Judgment Day, So Long & Family Reunion.
Awesome indeed! And I think DavID will like these since he is a wrestling fan... In fact, he will probably think I should have filled the review up with even more appropriate finishing moves such as "sharpshooter", "DDT" & "Sweet Chin Music".
I need to check this out. I heard bits of each song and it seemed like it was a bit of a comeback to classic hard rock from the last shithouse album (I don't QUITE mind their third/fourth (depending if you count their self-titled or not).
Yeah Tom, in the notes I had written before writing this review, I had actually jotted down something like "returning to their hard rock roots". I eventually decided not to include such a line as it (a) was really only in relation to their previous album 'Blood Stained Love Story' and (b) it probably would have taken away from the more than sufficient diversity on this album. I suppose you can categorise 7 of the 10 tracks as hard rock, but I personally wouldn't lump them all together like that.
As for the other album you speak of - 'Survival Of The Sickest' - I absolutely hated it... But I do know most think it was better than 'Blood Stained Love Story'. Anyway, I have previously reviewed each of Saliva's albums except for the self-titled debut, so if anyone gets bored, they're there to read.
Eh, Survival of the Sickest was a good, fun guitar album. Some tracks were boring, but the ballads on there are better than on Every Six Seconds. And for a while No Hard Feelings was like my theme song. xD
I thought Scott was terrible on 'Survival of the Sickest' and the production was shocking.
From memory, 'No Hard Feelings' is the song that I believe Scott ruins by trying to be a rapper and death metal vocalist at the same time.
I suppose I can see where you are coming from on the 'fun' aspect of that album, but that can only get one so far.
Anyway, let me know where you rank this new album of theirs in Saliva's discography once you have heard it. I'd put it 3rd.
Nice work in getting another review squeezed in before the end of 2008, and nice work (obviously) on how it turned out as well.
I know these guys mostly from the appearance they made at Survivor Series 2002 (my favourite wrestling DVD of all time), Always was great, and the Chris Jericho theme was kinda cool, if a lil' annoying, but I guess it really does fit his persona (King Of My World). I'm not too interested in listening to this, tbh, although (off topic) I did finally get High 'n' Dry by Def Leppard, and I gotta say it's pretty good at least.
Ta Spamue1. This one definitely will be my last review of 2008, but I'm possibly looking to post my next one come the weekend... & it may very well be 'High N Dry' actually.
Survivor Series '02 huh? That was the one where HBK won the title for the first time in 4.5 years, wasn't it? Great event if so, although I personally prefer SummerSlam 3 months earlier which was a great card from top to bottom. I'm surprised you don't want to give this album a whirl for nostalgias sake.
Also, Survivor Series 02 was the absolute balls. I love the Elimination Chamber match.
I personally miss the Attitude era the most; so much of the business has been watered down.This Message Edited On 12.29.08
I thought you would like these puns DavID. Did I miss any obvious other ones that I could have thrown in?
Just looking back at my handy little almanac here, SSeries '02 also had a nice 3 way tag match between Eddie/Chavo vs Rey/Edge vs Angle/He who may not be named.
... Not forgetting the tables match! I can't believe Jeff Hardy's still alive after that Swanton Bomb, let alone still wrestling!
I was thinking of getting this when I read first paragraph, but I realised that, since it doesn't have Always on, I'd most likely be disappointed, and I've got a load of albums still on my 'to-get' list which are wayyyyy above this one.
Spamue1, from memory that was the tables match where one of Jeff's opponents was audibly heard yelling at him to get into position for a move (which may have been edited from the DVD?). That always made me laugh. LOL. I personally thought he performed better in a tables match against The Dudleyz at one of the Rumbles, but I suppose that match was still entertaining to some extent.
I also clearly rate 'Always' as Saliva's best song. I loved that track when it first came out. There is definitely nothing as individually good as that song on 'Cinco Diablo' as the 2 highlights here are something a little different for the band.
It's good to see the 1st paragraph of this review getting some love, since I did toss & turn on it a little. Ta for the positive feedback Mike.
Yeah, they probably do shout out at him to get into position for the move (he was probably too stoned to have any clue what he was doing), but I try not to listen to what the wrestlers shout unless the DVD is clearly trying to draw attention to it - always ruins it for me when I hear them asking each other if they're ok.
I'm guessing that's the 2000 Royal Rumble, the first tag team tables one? I don't remember that one too well, it's been a while since I watched it, but I wouldn't be surprised if he performed better. Less drugs = better performance, generally.
My personal favourite Saliva song is probably All Because of You or maybe Famous Monsters. It has to be off Back Into Your System, that's for sure.
Royal Rumbles are great. The 2001 Rumble remains my favourite.