GOLDIES 2009: Hewing to the life of rock 'n' roll kings with an almost philosophical dedication

Saviours had their backs against the wall. Their new album was languishing without a title, and their record label was threatening to banish its release date to the wilds of 2010 if they didn't think of one — by the end of the day. Suggestions like "The Shlong Remains the Same" went nowhere. In these dire circumstances, it took a snippet of half-remembered conversation to germinate the perfect name, one that would encapsulate the band on-stage and off. On Oct. 26, Saviours released Accelerated Living (Kemado Records).

Sitting in the back booth of a Valencia Street bar, guitarist Austin Barber explains the accelerated lifestyle: "The world might view it as a negative, but it's just fucking partying hard, fucking getting some — as much as possible." Though the band draws extensive musical inspiration from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, the title speaks most directly to the way they emulate these road warrior forbearers, hewing to the life of rock 'n' roll kings with an almost philosophical dedication.

The music itself has also accelerated. "That's why it was the perfect title," drummer Scott Batiste chimes in. The group's previous full-length, Into Abaddon (Kemado, 2008) had the feel of a classic stoner metal record, with massive, reverberant riffs and hypnotic grooves. Accelerated Living introduced better songwriting, better musicianship, more complicated arrangements, and above all, faster tempos. "I like the idea of the band getting more and more aggressive, instead of wussing out like other bands do," continues Batiste. "They get weaker and weaker, and more and more accessible. I feel like the more we play together, the better we get, the more potential we have."

At this point, the potential is practically limitless. The new record captures a band resplendent in its newfound ability — even the most jaded metalheads would be hard-pressed to find a dud riff, let alone a dud song. From the propulsive downbeat attack of "Acid Hand" to the titanic opening riffs of album closer "Eternal High," all you hear is Saviours picking up speed, with the pedal to the metal.

>>GOLDIES 2009: The 21st Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery awards, honoring the Bay's best in arts

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