REVIEW: Saving Grace - The Urgency

Genre: Hardcore/Metalcore
Label: Facedown
Date of Release: January 21, 2014


Christian hardcore band Saving Grace formed in 2005 from Gisborne, New Zealand. After releasing a few full-lengths and becoming the first band of their country to be signed to Christian metal label Facedown Records (Hope For The Dying, Extol), they returned in 2014 to unleash their fourth full-length record entitled "The Urgency."

This album has issues both technically and entertainment-wise. From a technical standpoint, the songs sound far too similar into one another. I have listened to this album twice (Which I do for every album before I critique it, minimum), and in both instances, I could have sworn I was listening to the same song repeatedly. The structures are incredibly repetitive, as well as the melodies and breakdowns themselves (i.e. "1994" and "Descent"). As a result, the album loses its steam rather quickly and leads to a less-than-breathtaking listening experience.

From an entertainment standpoint, that flaw wouldn't be so troublesome if the songs themselves were engaging enough to warrant a decent score; sadly, this is not the case. For an album named "The Urgency," it surprisingly does have a fatal lack of energy. Testaments of this scarcity include the near-soulless spoken vocal passages and the dull-sounding production. Zack Ohren's mixing usually fares very well (All Shall Perish, Decrepit Birth), but here, it sounds too restrained and blended to make the music any more powerful.

To be fair, however, this album is not completely void of any admirable qualities. For an example, the first two songs do hold their weight rather well. "0+" is a fittingly ferocious introduction that flails its listeners around like a rag-doll upon arrival, and "Like a Trainwreck" boasts a nice groove, as well as "The Anthem of the Underground." On top of that, the screamed vocals, unlike the spoken ones, do have some decent energy and range to keep them afloat.

Aside from that, "The Urgency" is a bore. With the exception of the first two songs, the others feel copied-and-pasted until they fill the full-length album quota, and they don't have enough vigor, depth, and dynamic to keep the audience invested. Simply put, the album's biggest crime is that as a hardcore album meant to be energized, it has a severe lack of energy due to how stale it gets the further you go. Long-time Saving Grace fans might like it fine, but otherwise, give it a pass.

Score: 4/10 (Poor)