Review Summary: A surprisingly solid metalcore release that could have easily turned out tedious, annoying and repetitive6 of 6 thought this review was well written
UNFD aren't known for being very varied in terms of the bands they sign. Most of them are metalcore/ post-hardcore acts such as Northlane, The Amity Affliction, Dream On Dreamer and In Heart's Wake. However recently the label has started to expand to include Aussie punk rockers Bodyjar and Progressive band Dead Letter Circus. With UNFD finally deciding to sign bands of different genres, it can easily be said that Saviour was simply signed because they were a metalcore act similar to many of the others, but unlike a lot of the other bands UNFD have signed Saviour released 'First Light To My Death Bed' to try and prove a point, that they aren't a replica of the other metalcore bands, but instead are trying to lead the way for many metalcore acts to come.
Saviour's 'First Light To My Death Bed' is unique not because it twists or innovates the genre, but because of the bands effort to try use light atmospheric textures that many other bands don't use enough, if at all in the genre. Every breakdown, every bridge, every clean sung intro adds to the emotion that Saviour are trying so hard to create, that isn't to say that this album is just full of emotional and atmospheric metalcore. There are so totally pissed off songs that the band manages to pull off, such as the heavy 'Mercenary' but these songs seem much more generic and suffer from stereotypical 'modern' lyrical themes about break-ups or more ludicrous problems that don't carry much weight, after all, we've heard about 100 versions of these songs, each so very similar. The vocals come across with mixed results, while consistently heavy it seems the back-up woman vocalist Shontay (while she seems to be overproduced and heavily autotuned at times) actually steals the show in terms of immersion. A great example of this is the ending of the first single and longest song 'Jaded' which has a very soft outro consisting of the back up clean vocals which feels immersive in ways that not many other metalcore/melodic metalcore acts can achieve.
Another really surprising positive is that the clean vocals don't ever really seem to get annoying, such as in the older music video 'Vomit' in which the vocals overlap way too much and distract the listener from the lyrics. With this removed the band is now much more balanced. While the musicianship is quite typical of most other metalcore acts, the drumming is always blistering and well produced, which makes the songs feel either heavier or lighter than they actually would be performed live. While there isn't anything technically outstanding from either the drummer or guitarist, their work is commendable because they never manage to be boring, with the exceptions being the overuse of breakdowns in some tracks which, despite emotional purpose, wear off quickly. Especially once up to the track 'Needle' which sounds like a 1 minute near spoken word track which is essentially one massive breakdown until the end.
So, even though 'First Light To My Death Bed' does nothing new it manages to stay afloat for it's entire running time, which is always great for what could have been another generic metalcore release. It has lighter songs 'Karolena' much heavier songs 'Jaded' and even songs with spoken word influence 'Collapse' and 'Needle' and manages to impress from the very beginning with both brilliant musicianship and lyrics. It seems UNFD are starting to gain a reputation in managing to sign decent metalcore acts.