Review Summary: Saving Abel are no longer sex-crazed, toothless southern rockers, they now have somewhat of a crunch to their guitars. Sure, they have made an alt metal album like any other one, but even being generic is more commendable than their previous methods.
Anyone familiar with Saving Abel’s past work regardless of whether it be as much as an entire album or as little as a few singles, can automatically get the gist of what the band is all about on first impression, and that would be vocalist Jared Weeks numerous sexual escapades and/or relationship dilemmas.
The band’s past two outings can be simply defined as track after track of generically dull southern rock-tinged post-grunge about sexual experiences and girl trouble, to a point where one glance at the track listing of either of the two albums instantly translates out to sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex. In a way this makes them lacking in subject variance more so than their notorious genre cousins Nickelback, because at least Nickelback sometimes mixes it up with songs praising drug abuse, and world peace anthems with a facade of good intentions.
Due to their infamous past of predictable, thin, and thick-headed songs concerning sex that aren’t sexy in the least bit, those who are aware of Saving Abel’s record will be surprised, if not shocked to see that the album cover of their third effort Bringing Down the Giant
isn’t a depiction of a women erotically flaunting certain areas of her body, nor is the album title implying anything in the way of women. One would be more stunned to find that some of the track titles of the album actually bear some interesting names.
From the title track to cuts such as, “Michael Jackson’s Jacket”, “Pine Mountain (The Dance of the Poor Man)”, and “Picture of Elvis”, the album at least has a few tracks who’s names may provoke a listen from those hoping for a change in subject matter. However, despite the promise of the titles, those intrigued and drawn into the tracks will be disappointed to find they got their hopes up for nothing, as Saving Abel deceives listeners by somehow managing to find a way to make songs with such standout titles for a band of their kind ultimately about the same old topics.
While it may lead listeners into a letdown thematically, on the musicality end Saving Abel has definitely hardened their sound and produced the first significantly heavy record in their discography, one that moves away from the the rock safe zone and borders on alternative metal at points as early as the first track. Right off the bat on this title track, Saving Abel sounds more like modern radio rock contemporaries Shinedown, or 3 Doors Down when that band pauses their brooding sessions and bring out their heavier aspects. Saving Abel even throws in an solo on this track for good measure, albeit an unimpressive one, but it’s the thought that counts.
As to be expected though, by making an upgrade to Shinedown’s brand of slightly more invigorating rock, Saving Abel ultimately suffers from the same exact problems. Even though they now possess a new-found embrace of third-rate heaviness, Saving Abel’s anthems feel as hollow and bare as Shinedown’s. Without any fulfilling production or a more serious tone to guide the volumes they’re reaching for, Saving Abel seem less serious, and therefore less powerful than the mediocrity of Staind or Three Days Grace’s angsty fury, putting them below mediocre and at an average level.
Unfortunately for Saving Abel, the only topics they know and have to base their supposed anguish and torment on are their trivial relationship conflicts, and trying to come off as broken over the fear of possibly not getting laid is a basis for post-grunge that is even more difficult to take seriously than teenage angst.
Overall, Saving Abel at least no longer sounds like a bar band doing drunken covers of Black Crowes songs. They have improved upon themselves and have made a step forward, and by doing so have achieved louder audio impact, and even though that step forward is into generic territory, it’s still a step forward for the band, no matter how insignificant in the grand scheme of things.