Review Summary: A predictable effort, especially from a band like Theory of a Deadman. But at least it doesn't kill what little decency they have left.
I’m probably giving Theory of a Deadman
a lot more credit than they deserve when it comes to Savages
, but I have to say that I’m surprised by this. Especially considering what this band has done and said in their previous three records and the fact that Howard Benson has decided to return as producer for the fourth time in a row, you’d think that this record would represent everything that Theory of a Deadman are, and obviously it does. But the one thing that makes me somewhat shocked about Savages
is how they didn’t manage to seep down as low, or even lower, than The Truth Is…
, and honestly, I applaud them, relatively speaking of course.
Ever since the last time Theory of a Deadman showed their faces, I considered them to be even worse than their “influential” Canadian counterpart, Nickelback
. The Truth Is…
was just such an absolute monstrosity of a record since it represented everything that radio rock shouldn’t be: cringe-worthy sexist lyrics, the awful musical style, and the overabundance of annoyingly catchy songs, it was just disgustingly atrocious. However it seems as if the critical panning that the record got was enough for the band to move on from their disgustingly sexist themes and work more towards a clichéd route. It’s an improvement to say the least.
Opener ‘Drown’ is possibly the best song on the record but that’s not saying much as the band produces the typical ideas and musicality that we’ve heard a thousand times over. However what the track does is question whether or not you’re actually listening to Theory of a Deadman as the overall vibe doesn’t feel the same as before. And interestingly enough, this is not the only time that happens. ‘Salt in the Wound’ and ‘Heavy’ ends up having the band move out of the typical bland radio rock territory and it does end up hooking you in a surprising manner. But again, if you compare it to every radio rock song that’s out there, you’re not going to find anything noteworthy that says “this should win a Grammy.”
Despite this, every other song in this record is everything you’d expect from Theory of a Deadman. Almost every other track after ‘Drown’ does everything that they can to become as catchy as hell, especially when it comes to ‘Blow’ and ‘Panic Room.’ Tyler Connelly is still a terrible vocalist, keeping to his Kroeger style voice throughout most of the record. The guitars and drums are bland and deadbeat as they show yet again that there’s practically nothing exciting about the band. The lyrics contain your typical, clichéd, run-of-the-mill content about how life is awful/everything is hell. (Though there’s nothing inexplicably sexual this time around) And lastly, the guest vocals play almost absolutely no part in the record. Alice Cooper’s recitation fails to set the mood for the title track with lines like, “When will we realize we’re all just the same/We’re all just humans fighting human nature just to stay alive”
while Joe Don Rooney’s guitar work is so muddled and washed out that he has no place for the cringe-worthy ‘Livin’ My Life Like a Country Song.’ It’s the same result as was in Scars & Souvenirs
when Brent Smith and Chris Daughtry were featured, and it just doesn’t work.
In a funny way, Savages
is a surprising yet uneventful record since it manages to at least give Theory of a Deadman the tiniest shed of decency that they have left, yet it doesn’t manage to surpass any other successful radio rock record out there. It’s predictable album, but that’s probably the worst criticism you could give this. I doubt this would end up being successful because of it, yet at the same time I’d be more than happy to prefer Savages
than almost any other Theory of a Deadman record that’s out there. That’s enough for me to at least give them some benefit of the doubt for their next record, but not enough for me to get hyped up about it.