@planetmosh reviews Savages by @TOADM on .@rrusa and .@604Records, out on July 28th 2014.
Savages is the fifth studio album from Vancouver four piece Theory of a Deadman. They are Tyler Connolly on vocals/guitar, Dean Back on bass, David Brenner on guitar and Joe Dandeneau on drums. I saw Theory of a Deadman open for Black Stone Cherry and Alterbridge a couple of years ago and they remain the only band I’ve ever seen work their own merch stand at the 8000 capacity SECC in Glasgow. Faced with a massive queue waiting for autographs and photos the band showed great patience and good humour and made themselves a lot of new fans. Those same fans have the opportunity to see Theory of a Deadman back in Glasgow later this year, and they will not be disappointed when they hear Savages.
Tyler Connolly describes this album as “Theory of a Deadman on steroids.” As he went into the writing process for the album lots of things were weighing on his mind: the state of the world today, how we’re all desensitised to the violence we see on a daily basis, how brutal we are as a society. These ideas took precedence in Connolly’s mind and rather than write another album about relationships, as is his norm, Savages became about more than that. With titles like Savages, Misery of Mankind and In Ruins it’s an unapologetic statement about what’s wrong with the world, but in typical tongue in cheek Theory of a Deadman style. It starts as it means to go on, with first single Drown. The chorus is stupidly catchy, don’t bother trying not to get it stuck in your head, you will fail. Track two, Blow, is absolutely classic Theory of a Deadman. It’s so light and happy sounding, but when you listen, Tyler is actually singing, “sometimes, it makes me wanna blow my fucking head off.”
The band worked with some big names on Savages. It’s produced by Howard Benson, who has worked with My Chemical Romance and Halestorm, and features guest spots from Joe Don Rooney of country music giants Rascal Flatts and Alice Cooper. Those names might give you an idea about how eclectic Theory of a Deadman can be. This is an album with a lot going on. There’s definitely a central theme, but the band are good enough to be able to express that in different ways, keeping the album interesting and varied. Tracks like Drown and Panic Room are loud and rocky, Angel and The One are the slower ballads fans of Theory of a Deadman will find so familiar, and Livin’ my life like a country song, featuring Joe Don Rooney moves into a kind of countrified Southern rock bands like Blackberry Smoke and The Cadillac Three are making so popular at the moment. And then there’s title track Savages, which features a spoken word contribution from Alice Cooper. The song is about how humans these days are all about war, greed and how the apocalypse is coming. Alice’s voice is instantly recognisable and is 100% suited to the track. He’s simultaneously creepy and pissed off, and is his usual brilliant self. As Connolly said, “Alice killed it.”
So, what we have here is an album which shows real progression, a band who are moving forward, evolving, fulfilling potential. Interesting that in order to do that they’ve made an album all about how base and backward we are as a human race. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, but it works.
Track List: Drown/Blow/Savages(feat Alice Cooper)/Misery of Mankind/Salt in the Wound/Angel/Heavy/Panic Room/The One/Livin’ my life like a country song(feat Joe Don Rooney)/World War Me/In Ruins/The Sun has set on Me.
Links: www.theoryofadeadman.com, www.facebook.com/theoryofadeadman, @TOADM