May 29, 2014 Saliva – Rise Up (Album review)
Tennessee has a rich rock-n-roll history, bringing the world some of the biggest and most popular bands. Hailing from Nashville, modern rockers Saliva have become an international success over the years with hits such as “Click Click Boom,” “Always,” and “Ladies and Gentlemen.” The band’s success has been so consistent, but sadly in 2011 the original frontman and founding member Josey Scott left the band for personal reasons, leaving those who remained in Saliva with very few options. In fact, they had only two choices; to either officially break up and rob the world of the music only they can deliver, or to start over fresh by finding a new front man that could follow in the footsteps that Scott had left behind. Fortunately the band decided to march on and found themselves a new singer in former Burn Season drummer Bobby Amaru. Together with Saliva since 2012, Amaru joined Wayne Swinny (Lead Guitarist), Dave Novotny (Bassist), and Paul Crosby (Drummer) to keep Saliva alive. After digitally releasing their ninth overall album, and debut with Amaru in 2013, Saliva now give their fans a proper physical format release via Rum Bum Records with new artwork and a new album title of Rise Up.
Hitting the ground running, the album begins with the title track in a big way. Amaru isn’t shy, showing that he can indeed fill the shoes of Scott with an action packed, heavy, and intense vocal performance. Accompanied by Amaru is the familiar heavy grooving guitars that have made Saliva what they are. On the second track “She Sure Can Hide Crazy” the band instantly get fans headbanging right from the very start. Delivering classic southern rock tones that will provoke toe tapping and head movement, it is a great tune with a real slick and catchy bass line that grows exceedingly strong throughout. Taking the music in a darker direction, the next song titled “No One But Me” has some undertones of sexual tension within the lyrics. Amaru’s vocals shine big and bright on this track, solidifying that he indeed has taken the reigns as front man of the band. It is clear Saliva decided to broaden their approach on this song and it is sure to become a fan favorite in time.
Slowing things down a bit is the song “Lost.” With a mid-tempo vibe the song combines classic Saliva style with new sounds that can surely make it a radio hit. The track also sees Swinny cut loose with huge guitar riffs that will make long-time fans extremely happy. Picking things right back up is “1,000 Eyes.” In direct contrast to the song prior this is one of the heavier tunes on the album while still encompassing a darker mood. Instrumentally working flawlessly the entire band play a huge role on this track with slick and sleek guitar riffs, heavy bass line, and drumming. On “Redneck Freakshow” Saliva hit another home run which will surely appease their long time fans. It is a heavy rocking song with an irresistible beat held steady by Crosby. If some are wondering where Saliva’s heavy bass lines are on this album look no further. Novotny delivers that amplified bass line on tracks like “Choke” and “Army.” Giving fans exactly what they desire the track also features some fresh, powerful guitar work. There is an overwhelmingly positive message projected on “Army” where Saliva is saying we are here, and we do not plan on going anywhere.
Providing for a more radio friendly song on the album is the slower piece “Closer,” incorporating some mood-setting acoustic guitar to start the song, gradually picking up into a heavy, beefy rock sound. Immediately following is another heavy song titled “In It To Win It.” The song is a true fist pumping piece that could be one of the heaviest Saliva has ever produced. Heavy drumming, guitars, bass and vocals triumph on the song, making it a great track through and through. Winding down the album is “The Enemy.” By the name of this song one might instantly think that this would be a hard and heavy fast paced number. Surprisingly, this is a mid-tempo, more radio friendly track that allows Amaru to showcase his great vocal range. Closing out the record is the track “I Don’t Want It.” A strong finish to the album shows this band gives it their all with emotionally driven rock that hits the listener hard.
Starting over is always a difficult and daunting task for any band, especially with the enormous fan base that Saliva has. This band has made a name for itself as being one of the bands that no matter what state, city, or venue they perform in, it is always a must to go see live. Thankfully the boys found a worthy replacement for Scott Amaru and do not seem to have skipped a beat with “Rise Up.” With the new bonds of friendship developing with Amaru and the rest of the band, fans can certainly expect a lot more from a new era of Saliva. CrypticRock rates this album 5 out of 5 stars.