Manchester’s alternative metal, groove masters, Saurr, are back with a brand new EP called Twisted, due for release on the 29th of February.
Saurr formed in 2016. Their music consists of hard-hitting guitar parts, aggressive bass and drums and powerful vocals all backed by atmospheric synths. They combine influences from bands such as Gojira, Periphery, Machine Head, Slipknot, and many more to create a wall of sound delivered by an energetic and passionate performance. They were victorious in the Manchester leg of Metal 2 the Masses, winning a coveted and hard foiught spot on the new Blood Stage at Bloodstock Festival in 2019. You can check out a short interview with the band pre Bloodstock here.
Saurr are Rob Derbyshire on lead vocals with Chris Farron on guitar, Will Potts on the bass and Tom Farron on drums.
Saurr have, so far, released their self titled debut EP back in the summer of 2016 and followed that up with an instrumental called Glaciem. Since then they have been working hard, refining their sound and getting as much live experience under their belts as possible while working on their follow up. And here is that follow up, Twisted by Saurr.
Dead Shadow opens the EP, gently enticing you in with building noises, little drum taps and effects that transform into a rhythm and then evolves into a huge groove laden riff with a progressive edge. Not unlike Gojira in style. The vocals pack a punch in the verses, moving into a cleaner sound in the choruses. The drums throughout are fantastic, the bass shakes skin from bones, the guitars wrap themselves around you and the vocals exude power and passion.
There are a couple minor issues for me though. At times, especially in the first verse and chorus, I felt the vocals sit a bit too far forward in the mix. The vocals are great, don’t get me wrong, but seem to be overpowering the music a little rather than blending in with it. There are also a few sudden switches in direction though that throw me. I like where they start and I like where they end but I must admit I found the suddenness of them killed the flow of the song a bit. Nothing too dramatic, this is a great song. It just gave the ending quarter of the song a feeling of being many parts rather than a sum of all its parts. Overall though it is an exciting and interesting start to Twisted.
Hydra comes next and goes for the jugular straight from the off with a huge, deep and groovy riff. It’s massive and instantly gets your head banging along. The vocals are fantastic, dripping with attitude and emotion. There is a wicked little drop into a clean line before a huge return too. The second verse tails off into an intriguing instrumental with a strong bass line, gentle drums and some gently used backing effects. A little clean singing joins in as the music starts building up slowly and cautiously adding a really nice guitar melody that builds into a full sounding solo. We get thrown back into the song proper off the back of some absolute throat destroying roared lines mixed with technical riffing and off beat drums before it fades off gently into the distance leaving ambient sounds through effects gently massaging your ears.
Paradise is the third track and also the longest at 10 minutes and 15 seconds. Saurr use the extra time to create probably their most expansive track to date. A deep melody and wicked muffled drum beat backed by morose effects creep up on you and set the scene. After a few minutes the guitars jump into life banging out a catchy riff, dripping in bass. The verses drop to the gentler, thoughtful melodies again. I love the vocals in this clean section. The backing to the lead vocals works wonders too.
The chorus sees the intensity rise to boiling point as the band pour fuel into the warming embers of the verses. We do get a very sudden change in direction again, as the track feels like it is fading out it suddenly stops and throws us into a wicked instrumental where the drums get their chance to shine through. It works well here though. Despite being quite different to the start of the song, feels like it belongs.
Twisted is the final track of this mesmerising release. It’s also quite different, adding a little extra spice and variety to proceedings. Being shorter, at just over 5 minutes long, the band decide to spend a little less time creating atmosphere and go straight for the kill. The vocals have some menace to them, coming at you fast and hard with a little bit of a hardcore/punk vibe to them. The whole track moves at a good pace, keeping you feeling energised while the bass and drums lash at you with their thick, booming groove. The lead guitars are glorious to listen to as well. It seems the more you listen, the more layers you find. This song, like the whole of Twisted, is really clever and meticulously crafted, displaying insanely intelligent musicianship while also satisfying the more primal urges that want to just scream and release emotion. Brilliant!
Saurr really are a force of nature, enveloping the listener in a fog of thick groove and powerful atmospherics. Within the 4 tracks on offer on Twisted, expect to be emotionally challenged as you become engrossed in the swirling vortex of carefully crafted and impactful metal thrust at you. Keep an eye on their Bandcamp page and social media and grab yourself a copy of Twisted on the 29th. You won’t regret it.
Why not head on down to The Alma Inn in Bolton on the 28th and celebrate the release of Twisted with Saurr for the official EP launch party. Saurr will be supported by God Shaped Devil, 40,000 Leagues and Scarlet Castles and if that isn’t enticing enough, it is also free.
Twisted by Saurr (Self Released)
The Final Score - 9/10