Theory of a Deadman has made a career out of easy going, trailer-trash, rock n’ roll. Gems like “Bad Girlfriend” and “Lowlife&r
Theory of a Deadman has made a career out of easy going, trailer-trash, rock n’ roll. Gems like “Bad Girlfriend” and “Lowlife” have cemented them firmly in road trip playlists, barbecue soundtracks and rock party set-lists.
Unfortunately this hasn’t quite transferred over to Savages which is caught somewhere between shaky metal and reflective, alt-rock. It doesn’t quite work. First single “Blow” follows the tried and tested technique – sarcastic social commentary over a sleazy stripper beat, creating an enjoyable throwback to earlier TOAD. But then you hear the rest of the album.
It seems Tyler Connolly still hasn’t got over the break-up that fuelled 2011’s The Truth Is… where bitterly sarcastic diatribes against womankind reigned in songs like “Gentleman” and “The Bitch Came Back.”
However, the catchy melodies and ridiculously cheerful music turned these songs from misogynistic rants into hilarious, ironic sing-a-longs. Instead Savages gives us “Misery of Mankind” which is three and a half minutes of dull, repetitive bitching. The music isn’t bad, but the lyrics are mundane and lack the creativity or subtext to make this song anything more than childishly hostile.
The movie voiceover of Alice Cooper adds some camp theatrics to title track “Savages,” which is actually quite good. The snarling, stomping chorus and thundering bass line viciously keep the blood pumping throughout the track. King Cooper’s snake-like voice blends well with Connolly’s mellow growl but his habit of repeating phrases in a dramatic voice is quite unnecessary.
Lost somewhere in a mire of musical genres
Sadly, “Salt in the Wounds” just sounds like a really awful Bullet for My Valentine song. It tries to copy the modern metal sound Bullet have made so successful but lacks the power and writing to conceal the shaky lyrics.
“Heavy” is pretty great, the bounce and thump of the guitars and chant-able lyrics are well on their way to inciting a mosh pit or two.
Considering TOAD has never been a particularly heavy band musically, they’ve got the atmosphere down for this one. “World War Me” is similarly thundering and angsty – you know it’s a bit crap but still find yourself singing it in the shower later.
It’s a shame that Tyler Connolly with his slicked back quiff and little smirk, the fifties pin-up for the emo generation and a showman who infected his records with the same energy he did to their live gigs, has lost his sparkle, rumours of wild beards and reclusiveness surrounding the writing of Savages have done nothing to dispel the notions that Theory Of A Deadman are lost somewhere in a mire of musical genres, fighting to draw in too many influences.
A slightly disappointing effort
The uncertainty of style in Savages, along with lyrics that are often lumpen and clichéd, lets Theory of a Deadman down in a big way.
It’s true the winning formula they used on the previous two albums would have seemed over-used a third time, but they’ve not quite hit on the songs to re-launch themselves as a serious metal band, which seems to be the direction they want to head in. Plus the childlike gang-vocals on “The Sun Has Set On Me” are creepy and peculiar.
There are some great moments in the album and there’s a good chance a few of the tracks will grow on you, but it’s just not quite hitting the mark. Overall it’s a slightly disappointing effort from rock n’ roll’s best hairdo.
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