I'm going to be straight up, right off the bat. This album will absolutely be hitting my top albums of the year list come December. Ever since I gave this album a listen, I've been craving the chance to jam it again and again. I was fairly familiar with the band regarding their impressive When X Met Y release but never expected to be floored to this extent. I hope the following paragraphs don't come off as too complimentary, but still, I am stuck on the high that this album gave me a couple weeks back and I am quite convinced that my favoritism is reflective of the abundance in ingenuity and quality within Savages.
The Dali Thundering Concept is a French act who formed in 2010. Their musical style is fairly difficult to pinpoint because it sways between deathcore, djent, and a few of the surrounding subgenres, so for simplicity sake, I think considering them progressive metal is the most reasonable and accurate. Since formation, the group has put out an EP and LP and are now landing their second full-length album via Apathia Records. Conceptually, Savages represents a dystopia through lyrical themes of power and disillusion. Although no passages are overtly political, it is clear that the band holds a pessimistic worldview of our modern society and are able to powerfully portray that musically.
Compositions such as "The Myth of Happiness" or "There is No Calm Before the Storm" reflect this bleak point of view. After an Alice in Wonderland sample, the band jumps right into the formerly mentioned track, which carries the weight of Gojira, riffs like After the Burial, and vocal deliveries similar to Enter Shikari. Furthermore, "Ink" delves even deeper down the dark and heavy hole with a feature vocal appearance by Adam Warren (Oceano).
On the contrary though, there are glimpses of tonal optimism spread throughout this album. The jazz-centric "Demeter," calls to modal jazz icons like Miles Davis or Thelonious Monk via muted trumpet and syncopated piano playing before an awe-inspiring female vocal lead takes the stage. The upbeat "Utopia" track is also notable as it slides right into "We Build the Past," memorable for the Devin Townsend-like choir that hits a couple minutes in.
I'm unsure who is manning the production and electronics aspect of this release, but whoever it is, they deserve a long standing ovation. Every single song on here benefits from careful and intricate production including the mind-tickling intros and peculiar transitions found throughout some pieces. “Cassandra,” which at first appears to be an electronic transitional track, turned into an absolute club banger by the end. It's fairly void of any metallic elements, but I was hooked on the experimental build-up of this song. As soon as it ended I clicked repeat.
Altogether, Savages strives on the compelling ability to be diverse and unrelenting. During the opener, "Ostrich Dynasty," they dip into a Plini-like solo all while the drummer is throwing in a variety of unique fills. In the span of one song, vocalist Sylvail Conier spews a menagerie of vocal styles ranging from deep deathcore growls to high metalcore screams. For those curious about the djent moments—these guys put Periphery to shame with every riff and groove more innovative than the last.
In conclusion, this is the most ballsy progressive music I’ve heard in a long time. Their stylistic diversity and fresh take on riffs undoubtedly lead to the verdict that this group is of the utmost original in a day and age of rehashed prog-core. The Dali Thundering Concept have left a high new standard for not just the modern prog scene but any act of the metalcore, deathcore, and djent persuasion.
Buy Savages now through Bandcamp.