On the final stop of our Soft Kill album reviews, we’ll be taking a look at the band’s 5th album, 2018’s Savior. I was already expecting this to be another great one, as the band’s style of melodic post-punk along with their expertise in crafting moods surrounding the darkest depths of the human experience has already been sold on me from the previous albums. Savior is no exception, but yet again there are some great additions here that make it a step above the rest.
This album came in a time when band leader Tobias Grave and his wife went through a terrifying moment during the birth of their first son. This stressful experience and the following recovery period has embedded itself directly into the melodies and lyrics in this album. As such, we find the dark swaths and patches in Soft Kill’s music tinged by significant amounts of relief and hope in it. There’s a solemnity and grace to the swelling synths, its swirling guitar peaks, an uplifting respite from the deep-dwelling drums and the pulsing bass. It doesn’t dominate the mix, but it’s clearly there, a faint light trying to claw its way out of the darkness.
This comes through in the relentless urgency of “Swaddle”. Where the combination of synths and guitar textures are fighting with every inch of what they have to stay awake, to stay fighting. The same can be said for “Trying Not to Die” in it’s desperation to survive and grasp every inch of hope. Grave’s voice hovers over the mix like an omnipotent figure or a loving father, ready to overcome his shortcomings and find retribution.
In the title track there’s an expansive and gothic sound that’s been a signature and mainstay for every one of Soft Kill’s albums. It feels like staring at the night sky or watching the vastness of the ocean. There’s an overwhelming vastness to it, harsh yet natural, like the many adversities we face in life.
Other highlights include “Missing”, which is a love song with an urgency to get back what you’ve lost and reconnect with the missing missing in your life, while the groovy “Dancing on Glass” sounds like an 80’s classic that invites you to celebrate life and live fully despite its many challenges.
Savior is vulnerable and open. It’s music wrought from many wounds and scars while not being afraid to show it. Songs that reach out into your soul and hold on from start to finish. An album I wouldn’t think twice to recommend.