Sound — 8
For TV shows and the movie world, Saliva continues to be the go-to band for driving, fast-paced theme songs. The band has hit a chord with audiences ever since it made the finals in the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Grammy Showcase competition, and it shouldn't disappoint with its latest album either. While Saliva has usually gained the most attention from its up-tempo hits that show up movies like The Fast And The Furious, the latest album gives as much attention to ballads, which should please a whole other audience altogether. The first single off the new CD is instantly infectious with vocalist Josey Scott providing a circus ringmaster-like call for the introduction and guitarist Wayne Swinny offering up distortion-heavy riffs. There's a reason why Ladies And Gentleman was chosen as the theme for WrestleMania 23. It packs a powerful punch right off the bat and even has some Beatles-esque harmonies when Josey and background vocalists sing, Welcome to the show... Sure, it's not quite as original as the Fab Four's Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, but it does have a unique feel of its own. It's completely effective as an opener regardless. The songs that immediately follow Ladies And Gentleman are more restrained in comparison. In fact, about half of the other tracks take a decided dip in energy. That definitely adds to the power behind the opening number, but you almost kind of wish for a few more up-tempo track before Saliva reins it in a bit. Ballads like Never Gonna Change aren't the slowest ballads by any means and have plenty of redeeming qualities, particularly in the band's use of harmony. The large number of ballads may annoy fans of Saliva's harder music, but it's not really anything that new for the band. One track that jumps out from the rest of the bunch is Black Sheep. The song incorporates pretty much everything that makes a powerful, gritty rock song. Scott uses more of a gruff vocal while Swinny lays out two incredible guitar solos. The second solo is simply killer and immediately makes you want to give the song a re-listen. If there is one song that really drives Blood Stained Love Story, Black Sheep is the one.
Lyrics — 8
King Of The Stereo is a fun track that features memorable lyrics that stand out due to the unusual wording. It's primarily rapped, which affords the band a little more fun in the song construction, and the results are pretty successful. Massive, drastic, classic, I'm interactive; You put me in your computer and Ima crash it; My claim to fame is my brain insane; And if the blame is framed then Ima smash it. Later in the song Saliva even throws in an allusion to it's hit Click Click Boom, which is a nice touch. Josey Scott, the main lyricist, strikes a nice balance in his words. There are times when the songs are quite vivid and descriptive, while at other times he writes more of a traditional rock lyric. Twister is more of the usual rock lyrics with lines like Life's a gamble and then you die; No explanation, no reason why. It's not the most original line, but at the same time it's not that bad. While Saliva doesn't go above and beyond what you might hear in rock today, it hasn't disappointed its fans this far along the line.
Overall Impression — 8
Blood Stained Love Story should be a satisfying album for most Saliva fans. The band doesn't necessarily stray from its usual format, but it doesn't have to. The rock anthem niche it has carved out has worked out well for them and the latest album has more than a few tracks that will likely provide a few more wrestling/sports programs with theme songs. For those in search of something more out of the ordinary -- that perhaps pushes rock's boundaries -- you'll likely find that Saliva unsatisfying. In terms of accessible, catchy rock singles, however, Saliva's new songs are likely to be rock radio favorites.