Savages review by Theory of a Deadman

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  • Released: Jul 29, 2014
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 6 (23 votes)
Theory of a Deadman: Savages
5

Sound — 7
Theory of a Deadman formed in 2001, and basically got their first record deal by being the first band to sign to Chad Kroeger's 604 Records label imprint. They accomplished this by giving him their demo at an after-party after a Nickelback concert. They released their debut album shortly after in 2002, and since that time they've had a lot of success with a lot of their material being used by sporting events and professional wrestling. In addition, they've found that sweet spot for heavy rotation on rock radio since early in their career. The band lineup has been consistent except for the drummer - they're currently on Joey Dandeneau, drummer number four. The band began working on "Savages," their fifth studio album, in late 2013. The album contains 13 tracks with an approximate runtime of 46 minutes. The track "Drown" was released as the lead single for the album.

The album opens with the lead single, "Drown," which is heavy drop-D riffing, and a driving bass guitar and some interesting vocal processing used sporadically through the song. "Blow" is basically using semi-current events as lyrical fodder - citing Chris Brown's woman-beating as something they are not, referencing Kanye West's comments about rock being dead, blaming it on him coming off of his "meds" - and referencing these current events as a motivation to "blow my f--king head off." Next up is the title track, "Savages," which features Alice Cooper. I would have to say that this song did catch my attention more than a lot of the rest of the album, but in large part because I'm a big Alice Cooper fan. "Misery of Mankind" starts out with the lyrics "all you want to do is stuff your face and be annoying/ all you want to do with me is fight fight fight," which is basically a different kind of bad girlfriend, I guess. "Salt in the Wound" is like part 2 of "Bad Girlfriend" (now I'll stop the "Bad Girlfriend" references). The song actually has a pretty catchy feel to it, but I wasn't feeling the choruses. "Angel" seems like it is considering ripping off Miley's "Wrecking Ball" for the melody, but doesn't quite pull the trigger on straight up ripping it off and only borrows heavily instead. "Heavy" is some heavy drop-D riffing, with the song basically glorifying in how much they love heavy music played loud while they drink lots of beer and party. "Panic Room" is basically some catchy riffing with almost comical vocal melody in the verses. "The One" is a piano-driven love song - it's "one for the ladies," exploring the possibility of maybe they could have made it if they hadn't let their temper get the better of them, and possibly she was the one and she had got away. "Livin' My Life Like a Country Song," which features Joe Don Rooney from Rascal Flatts, is essentially a modern country song (lap steel included) and is a breakup song about how the songwriter's life fell apart when his girl went away. "World War Me" has a really cool melody running through it, but it is also strangely familiar - I can't quite place it. "In Ruins" has a weird little backwards piano echo-y thing going on in the intro, which is pretty interesting, and the choir type "oohs" in the song are pretty interesting, but the track lost me from there. "The Sun Has Set on Me" opens up with children laughing, and then a crow cawing, but musically this track was definitely one of my favorites from the first note, but I wasn't a fan of the vocals and lyrics.

Lyrics — 7
Tyler Connolly provides lead vocals on the album with the other members providing backing vocals, which is in line with the band's previous releases. Tyler is a solid vocalist and there isn't really anything negative to say about his vocals. The rest of the band providing backing vocals has always been a nice touch. I'm not really feeling most of the vocals on the album, however. As a sample of the lyrics on the album, here are some from "Blow," which are probably the most interesting lyrics on the album: "Uh huh/ Sometimes it makes me (uh huh)/ wanna blow my f--king head off/ sometimes it makes me (uh huh)/ think the world has gone officially insane/ where everything's a scandal/ the news too hard to handle/ world is so unbearable like wearing socks with sandals/ I'm a lover, not a fighter/ respectable to women/ ain't Chris Brown, I don't feel the need to hit 'em/ sad to see a twelve year old/ acting like a little hoe/ taking naked pictures while she's living in her parent's home/ post em up on Twitter/ make you reconsider/ every time you go online to find a babysitter." The lyrics spend a lot of time in the realm of the ridiculous - I can't decide if those lyrics work for the song or not.

Overall Impression — 7
I don't have a chip on my shoulder against radio rock, exactly, but I also can't understand people taking these bands out of context. There are way too many people who would name bands like Theory of a Deadman or Nickelback as their favorite band, and that completely blows my mind. Their songs aren't bad, but they aren't exceptional either - they aren't adventurous enough to be exceptional - they follow a carefully formulated blueprint to create ultra-marketable music. So, in closing to my mini-rant, this album is okay as background music but it isn't exceptional. My favorite track would absolutely be the title track, "Savages," which includes Alice Cooper as a guest star. I also liked parts of "World War Me," but I couldn't get behind the song completely. Musically, "The Sun Has Set on Me" was a really interesting track. My favorite part of the album is still Alice Cooper's little monologue in "Savages."

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    swastika
    Drown and Sun has set on me are my favorites, both remind me of Alice in Chains
    mlukeroberts222
    Comparing TOAD to AIC is blasphemous, laughable, and downright INSANE. The two don't belong in the same sentence.
    acdcfan34
    Chill out. He said those songs remind him of AIC, not that they are better than AIC.
    cristy♥twilight
    I'm a huge fan of Theory Of A Deadman so I like it Tyler's voice is so good I think he could sing anything and I'd probably love it- so my opinion might not hold much weight (My stupid screen name holds no validity either.... please don't judge me because of it, lol!) In addition to the vocals, I'm absolutely in love with them lyrically. They're the Taylor Swift's of rock! lolol!! Meaning: I believe their lyrics as their experiences (whether they really are or not.) TOAD's songs don't just seem like rhyming words making up sentences making up songs. I think they're great
    thejay2
    Undeniably Drown is an epic and impressive way to start a rock album. However, I would have liked this format to continue a little more throughout and have to admit I was a little disappointed. Although that is not to say that this album was terrible because that's just not true, it is a great album. But it is missing something and I can't put my finger on what...
    daveytwardy
    Much better then the last album. I am a fan since there first cd which imo was their best effort which is generally the case or else why would you start listening to a new band. Glad to see them back to a somewhat overall rocking sound. Drown , Misery of mankind, Sun has set on me, are the best tracks. Then Blow kinda seems like there trying to appeal to young teenage girls nothing wrong with that if your 1 direction. Also a song in 2014 talking about Chris Brown hitting a woman. Wasn't that like 5 years ago? Then of course they follow the Nickelback formula for getting your songs played on as many different radio staions as you can by throwing in some poppy bruno mars beats and slow country songs. Which leads me to never knowing whats going to happen when i go to there shows is it going to be rocking pyro or sitting on a stool playing the acoustic. They have a song on this album that mentions something like "everyone goes crazy when the music gets heavy" and they do so why randomly throw in a buzz killington track between two heavy ones i duno. You want to be a country star Tyler? do what Default front man Dallas Smith did. Otherwise good album I give it 7/10
    sybr_mirrorbane
    Really? This album is better than "The Truth Is..."??? I've loved TOAD since their self-titled debut and fell in love just a bit more with each proceeding album; they're about to come within my "Let's go see 'em live!" radius in a couple of months, and while I'd like to pop my TOAD live cherry after over a decade of trying and failing to do so I fear they're gonna be trying to play stuff off of Savages more than songs from their previous albums... I was kinda leery of "Drown" when I first heard it (sounded like Tyler decided to mess around with Autotune hardcore for it), but I bought Savages on its premiere date nonetheless (as any true fan of TOAD would); I discovered that the Autotune stuck around for the ENTIRE ALBUM, and even sucked greats like Alice Cooper into it! I'll admit, "Blow" disgusted me beyond what it should have for personal reasons (my best friend's teenage son committed suicide via bullet to the skull only a month previous to this album's drop; not TOAD's fault as far as that goes), but I just tried listening to the whole album this morning and still just hear Autotune over guitar trying too hard to sound edgy/hard/whatever they were attempting with this effort... In my area (Central IL), TOAD never got the respect (in radio play) they deserve; they put out four solid albums, but in my area they seem to have gotten confused with and ultimately drowned out by Nickelback. Hell, I didn't know that "The Truth Is..." was a thing until I went down to St. Louis and heard "Lowlife" on 105.7 there (shameless plug for the Point!) I own and still enjoy all four of those (listening to 'em now, in fact), but their latest ain't even good enough for a coaster; they've stepped too far away from the sound I came to love, and though I still plan to go see 'em when they roll through I don't believe they're gonna be as enjoyable as they would've been before they laid this turd-burger of an album on the world... 0.1/10 (and the only reason it ain't 0 is 'cuz I have hope that these guys will realize they f'd up and go back to where they were...)