Third full-length from stoner-metal crew Saviours, sees them move away from the sludge-rock of previous efforts 'Into Abaddon' and 'Crucifire' in favour of a sharper, cleaner production that highlights just what a talented group of musicians they are.
Saviours are courting something of a niche market with 'Accelerated Livings's rigid formula of chugging guitars and meaty drumbeats, mixed in with passages of scorchingly technical fret-work, blastbeat drumming and screeching guitar solos. Suffice to say, if you're partial to the thrash-infused, Black Sabbath-esque chug of album-opener 'Acid Hand' then you're guaranteed to like every last song on this nine track album.
After an opening storm of static-choked guitars that recall Saviours' sludge-rock roots, 'Acid Hand' settles into a single-minded chug of bristling riffs, drums that beat out a simple, bloody rhythm and the occasional, shouty vocal line that plays second fiddle to the bludgeon of the music. But, mindless brute force is only one half of the story, and the latter part of 'Acid Hand' gives us a taste of what's to come on 'Accelerated Living,' as the song's whipped into a frenzy of finger-snapping fret-work and galloping drums. Saviours keep proceedings suitably dark with the help of jet-black riffs that twist menacingly through this no-nonsense thrash rollercoaster, and, inevitably for such a song, it all culminates in a hail of screeching guitars.
'The Rope of Carnal Knowledge' and 'Eternal High' also stick to this chuggy-guitars-and-then-step-it-up-a-gear formula. 'Eternal High' is 'Accelerated Living' at its most metal. The band plough their full weight into those chugging riffs, and each one falls like a lead weight. It's a slightly more ponderous chug than 'The Rope of Carnal Knowledge' and 'Acid Hand,' but Saviours make up for their slow start when they hit the midway point and whip those two tonne riffs into a riot of pulsing chords and an extended instrumental bridge that's crammed with speed-metal riffing.
'The Rope of Carnal Knowledge' is the atypical Saviours chug, with one notable difference: an introduction of unusual guitar lines that gather to jagged peaks, before jigging back down in a hail of drum-rolls. It ensures 'The Rope of Carnal Knowledge' has the listener's undivided attention, before settling into its standard bludgeoning. The song occasionally returns to those ingenious, wonky guitar lines, striking a perfect balance between experimentation and keeping true to Saviours' roots. An album highlight.
While there's a thrash element running through the first half of the album, it comes more to the forefront as we move down the tracklist. It first makes its presence felt, on the explosive 'F.G.T,' a song that opens in a squall of screaming guitars and blastbeat drumming, and follows up with supercharged chugging. Bursts of technical guitar-work and screeching riffs, offer only a brief respite from that manic chugging. Although Saviours are guilty of packing slightly too much into 'F.G.T' at the cost of overall coherency, when something's this fast and furious, it's great fun, regardless.
And Saviours continue to whip through those riffs, with the double-header of 'Burnin' Cross' and 'Slave To The Hex.' The former streaks for the finish line from the word 'go.' 'Burnin' Cross' is Saviours' classic sound, distilled, and played at triple speed. 'Slave To The Hex' meanwhile, is such a fast and furious chug, that when it hits the chorus there's only one tempo change available to Saviours: and that's slower. The jangly drums and pulsing riffs are dropped in favour of classy rock guitars and shuffling drum lines. That Saviours have to take it down a notch for the chorus, is testament to just how rocket-fuelled 'Slave To The Hex' is.
The final three songs are of a more varied nature. The first, eight minute epic 'Livin' In The Void' explains why 'Accelerated Living' is only nine tracks long. The first half, is underpinned by a meaty, headbang-friendly beat, drenched in doomy, apocalyptical guitars that hint at the drama to come. And 'Livin' In The Void' gets dramatic indeed, with a lengthy instrumental where static and echoey guitars are employed to create an expansive feel, before the guitar lines clarify out of the static and drag the song into a storm of wailing guitars. It does come uncomfortably close to pretentious art-metal territory, but Saviours manage to snatch 'Livin' In The Void' back from the brink, with a final blast of brute chugging and rock 'n roll swagger. True, Saviours may sign off with slightly too many winding-down drums and fading-into-non-existence riffs, but seven and a half of the eight minutes fly by, making this a mosh-meets-oldschool-metal-meets-prog triumph.
'We Roam' has a neat rock 'n roll infused stomp, as squealy riffs, groaning bass and wickedly sharp, technical chord-mangling all come together in a slippery-slick swagger. When 'We Roam' isn't strutting, it's treating the listener to more of that chugging that's made to wrench your neck to. More of Saviours' Black Sabbath-infused heavy metal with well-worked technical flourishes, but with added passages of good old fashioned rock riffs.
'Apocalypse World Split' blends that trademark chug with a military drum line, and slathers the whole thing in impossibly classy-sounding, hard-rock riffs. The result is a snappy, black-hearted crunch befitting of such a darkly melodramatic song title. Once Saviours get into the song proper, it turns into another frenetic, pulsing plunge, but with a touch of punk to those speeding riffs and rocketing drums. The guitar solo veers on the technical side of things and will no doubt have guitar enthusiasts wishing they could play something half as complex, with half of Saviours' speed. Tight, fast, with moments of jaw-droppingly technical musicianship, 'Apocalypse World Split' really does have it all.
'Accelerated Living' is an authentic-sounding combination of thrash and 80's heavy metal that benefits from the sharper production. The thrashy riffs and technical flourishes help to keep things interesting and varied, despite the fact that 'Accelerated Living' keeps reusing the same chuggy riffs time and time again. 'Accelerated Living' will be a very welcome trip down memory lane for fans of oldschool heavy metal.