I’ve never gotten into tarot cards but after a discussion with a friend last week, it’s something that I absolutely think I could get behind. I’ve gone down a rabbithole of all things supernatural, lunar, conspiracy and other strange things lately so when I opened up Savage Moods’ ‘Dark Matter’ and noticed that pack of tarot cards, I knew it was fate that had drawn me to reviewing this album today.
“Wizard of Pain” kicks this album off with a bang. The chugging guitars instantly made me want to be in a little dive bar with a cold beer in hand. The unique blend of all things rock had me struggling with how to classify this band. You could hear nods to alternative bands, metal bands, stoner rock bands, again, all of the rock genres blended into one to give this opening track it’s sound and even though I couldn’t easily classify it, I have no struggle saying that I loved it.
The album quickly moved onto “Lucid Dream” which brought a darker tinge to the sound. The lyrics in this track are about a dream of sorts (go figure with that song title) and the instrumentation matches that perfectly. Dizzying guitars and slamming drums, this was an instant favorite of mine. I was stuck on the guitar part in Lucid Dream and didn’t even catch it when the album moved on to “Going Home”. The vocals in “Going Home” shift from a stoner rock vibe to a more indie-pop style while the instrumentation stayed in that gray area of many different rock genres all wrapped up into one.
“Death Man” kicks the tempo up a bit and starts off with an almost cry of sorts in the vocals. That cry turns to super distroted words while the rest of the band turns into an almost frantic scale of notes without bridging into the world of chaos. Again, I was completely lost in the song and the notes being plucked along but was jolted out of the party-scene that “Death Man” provided when the album moved into the slower “Paranoid”. Much more subdued than the previous tracks, this one kind of came out of left field as far as the tempo is concerned but the vibe is the same. Savage Moods continues to be a band that refuses to be put into one genre regardless of the tempo and I love that.
I was intrigued by the title of the next song. “Dragonslayer”. It sounds so intense, so Dungeons and Dragons. I’ll admit, I was anxious to skip to this one and it definitely did not disappoint. The dramatic moodiness of this track was exactly what I wanted. That mixed with the fantastical words definitely made an impression on me. Although not one of my favorite tracks on this album (let’s be real– I love all of the tracks on this album), this one is a great example of what Savage Moods has to offer.
There’s something oddly political about “Neighborhood” that I absolutely love. When you listen to the lyrics, they can easily be taken as a political statement against gentrification and although I know lyrics can be taken a million different ways, I hope that was the intent. The words come across as full of sorrow and almost softspoken. I struggled at times to hear the words but that didn’t keep me from hearing the passion or unspoken energy. I kepy wanting this song to pick up the tempo a little bit but it wasn’t until the album moved onto “Rainbow Eyes” that I got that rocking vibe I had come to expect from this group.
“Rainbow Eyes” has a driving force behind it that is nothing short of infectious. Steady drums with the faint strum of a guitar while the vocals dance above everything else, this is one of those songs that will have you bopping your head wether you notice it or not. My head was still moving along to the beat as the album proceeded into “Black Floyd”. Another one of the moodier pieces on this album, the slow and steady tempo of “Black Floyd” is intoxicating. It’s the type of song that transports you to somewhere else. I can’t tell you where because that is up for interpretation but you go somewhere with this song and that’s a magical thing and made this another favorite of mine.
Up next is “Dark Side” (maybe a nod to Pink Floyd? I mean, “Black Floyd” and then “Dark Side”– food for thought). “Dark Side” brings something a bit more care-free to the table. The vocals and instrumentation take a turn for something a little brighter while still staying in this odd gray area as far as rock genre goes. For some reason, I couldn’t shake the comparison of The Killers in my mind and the comparison only gained traction in my mind as the album moved onto “Totally Great Vibes”. Think old school The Killers, like ‘Hot Fuss’ but with a little bit more edge to it.
Ending this album on a high note is “Future Man” and although I didn’t want this album to ever end, ending it with this song was perfect. Elements heard throughout this album all come together full circle to create this stunning track. You get the driving drums, the chugging guitars, the dizzying lines of notes all capped off by the distinct, almost distorted sounding vocals.
It may be just another sleepy Sunday in the world of Coronavirus but Savage Moods’ ‘Dark Matter’ has given me a little pep in my step and I’m ready to take on the day, whatever that may bring. What a great album from an uber talented group that clearly does what they want and does it with a sense of perfection.
My Favorite Track(s): “Lucid Dream”; “Black Floyd”
For Fans Of: Shower beers; Distorted Vocals; All Things Rock
Dance-ability: 6.3 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artie laid on the back of the couch watching the birds; Autumn skulked around the living room chasing my robotic vacuum thing
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 9.7 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5
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