Saul, Rise As Equals review (Spinefarm Records 2020)

The first full-length album from Saul is a stab at the heart of mediocrity that rises above the tide of ordinary heavy music.

This band from Iowa is Blake Bedsaul (vocals), Zach Bedsaul (guitar), William McIlravy (bass), and Myles Clayborne (drums). Their EP Aeons (2019) received a lot of attention, propelled by the success of the single “Brother.” Their music has a harder edge than Pop Metal and more melodic passages than you might expect from heavy music. Punchy, sawblade guitar riffs and forceful vocals are the hallmark, interspersed with lyrical moments. The songs are typically about experiences of people as opposed to dark or fantasy concepts. Breaking Benjamin might be a starting point for reference, but Saul’s music has a sharper edge and a fuller sound. There are other comparisons, too, but listen to Saul directly if you really want to know what they are like.

The album has fourteen songs all running at radio length and each one a separate success. The opener is “Trial By Fire,” which was released earlier as a single. It is clearly a crowd pleasing live anthem, cracking out with a snapping riff that has a clever bend to it then proceeding on to a sing-along chorus that will resonate with fans. In fact, every song sounds like a single – meaning that they are all tight and constructed for maximum impact. There is no meandering anywhere on the album. Take “King of Misery,” which starts out at a slower tempo than many of the other songs, but the rock solid guitars are there and the execution of the vocals as the centerpiece to the composition is spot-on. The title track is another stand-out piece, and for me, and “The Toll” is maybe my favorite on the album for its pulsing rhythm and penetrating message.

I saw Saul perform on a livestream with Clutch, Crowbar, and Blacktop Mojo a couple months back and their set really stood out. I have been waiting for this album to come out ever since, anticipating something big. The band absolutely delivered. Rise As Equals is even better than I expected. Highly recommended.

You can get the full album this Friday, October 23rd from Spinefarm Records. The quick buy is through Amazon Music for the download, with the physical versions widely available. The Saul Shop link below is a good path to follow if you are in a buying mood.

Links.

Saul website, https://saulofficial.com/

Saul Shop, https://saul.merchnow.com/

Saul Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/saulbandofficial/

Saul YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfVimzkq5EqQ0ZDo_FrP7Lg

Spinefarm website, https://www.spinefarmrecords.com/usa/

Spinefarm YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/SpinefarmRec

Saul, Rise As Equals review (Spinefarm Records 2020)