Review: Gone Savage – PastLife
Independent release (Release date TBC)
Reviewer: Chris O’Connor
Happy 2022! Straight out of the starting blocks is this very splendid album by Mancunian Heavy Rockers GONE SAVAGE, with this simply marvellous ‘PastLife’ album, which instantly ticks all my musical boxes. The band has a sound and feel that harks back to the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, yet also has one foot planted firmly in the present too. Fusing melody with real crunch and power, while creating genuinely memorable songs – their music kicks and punches with real flair and elan, it’s a seriously mature and dynamic album.
Think Dokken jamming with ‘80’s Bon Jovi, Icon, ‘High & Dry’ era Def Leppard, and Trixter, and you won’t be far from the mark, with big muscular riffs fused to tasteful melodies – what is there not to love? Currently, the band is centred around the talents of bass guitarist Ian Salpekar and vocalist Will Glover, with other musicians stepping in to round out the band in concert. ‘PastLife’ is the band’s full-length debut after a string of very tasteful singles, and it shows that this young band has all the musical credentials to go a long way with their career.
Kicking things off with the powerful ‘Icon Of Today’, the band’s class immediately shines through, bass guitarist Ian Salpekar’s songwriting is second to none, and Will Glover pours his heart into the vocal. ‘Irresistible’ is better still, with a killer chorus and a driving riff, it’s a fabulous track – for my money, this should have been the lead off track. ‘Life In Black And White’ is a melodic gem, with a slightly sleazy feel to it, and an insistent chorus that drills it’s way into your brain, it’s terrific stuff!
There is no let up now, as ‘Permanent State Of Change’ hits hard, a heady mix of Dokken and Def Leppard, this is an absolute monster, how the guys aren’t signed to a decent label is absolutely beyond me! The song is driven by a pulsing riff that simply doesn’t let up and has a singalong chorus to die for. ‘Bulletproof’ features a crunching riff and a cool chorus that almost evokes the spirit of Savatage. Guitarist Grant Mallison delivers in spades – the fretwork is nothing less than stunning.
‘Life Incendiary’ could be Dokken at their most vintage, it’s a wonderfully atmospheric number, again with a fabulous guitar riff and featuring a huge chorus … I find myself playing this track a lot. ‘Louder Than The Sun’ channels both Warrior and Icon with a sledgehammer riff and a gorgeous chorus – the guys simply reach new heights with this bruiser! I think it’s my favourite song on the album. ‘Love caught Me Out’ is a wonderful heavy yet melodic number, with yet another perfect chorus, it’s as good as music gets, guitarist James Marsh also lets fly with a stunning solo that is massively impressive.
‘Redemption Song’ is a slow burning, smouldering piece, it makes me think of early Tesla jamming with Def Leppard. It’s a mid-paced song that slows things down nicely and has an absolute monster of a chorus! Perfect! ‘Power=Less’ picks the pace up again with a pulsing riff that drives the song along relentlessly. The chorus is another crowd pleaser, the song racing to a breathless conclusion. Finally, ‘Touch Your God’ is another atmospheric number, a gentle verse leading into a huge chorus, Will Glover turns in a sterling vocal, while guitarist Sam Millar shines with one final glorious guitar solo. What a way to end an album! Gone Savage deserve real success, and if there is any justice, ‘PastLife’ will launch them onto much bigger things!