Okay, in the interests of full disclosure, I should first of all say I used to go to school with SERVERS main guitarist/vocalist/song writer Lee Storrar. I remember being terribly jealous of a few things back then. He was handsome, cool, a talented guitarist and, most of all, he had the hair!
That was, ahem, a few years ago now, and as I basically left to live down South for over two decades straight after school, it's not like we were besties or anything (although he did change my mind on Judas Priest!). Since I moved back "up North" what has struck me most about the guy is:
I'm still envious of his coolness. This is a guy who was, until recently, a fireman after all, and has lived the rock god dream (nightmare?). Thankfully though, he no longer has all that hair so I am a little less in awe these days. Yeah, right.
He's the only guy I know who is angrier at the world than I am.
He's truly found his voice with SERVERS
I've loved seeing the band live and truly enjoyed each of the previous three albums, no mean feat when, as much as I love rock and metal, I was never a fan of so-called DOOM metal (or as I prefer to call it, dark metal as really, the band cross over many metal sub-genres) . Now however, it is time for Album Number 4. Could the band serve up the goods once again? (I promise, that's the last pun, I just needed to get it out of my system lol).
Well, dear reader, the answer is very much an emphatic YES! In fact, of all the albums, this one is, for me, the most instantly accessible. Now, I need to be clear here. By that I do not mean the band is no longer dark metal, because trust me, there is no let up on SERVERS energy and go for the throat riff, rock & slash approach to the music. The lyrics, if anything, are even angrier than usual, with a couple of f-bombs thrown in here and there to make a particular enraged point, and the rhythm section of Liam, Jamie, Will and t'other Lee drive each and every song forward with urgent skill and thunderous energy.
But on this album, the band have beefed up the already great guitar work and taken it to the next level, with some truly astonishing 'riff-to solo-back to riff' shredding to make even the most casual listener stop for a moment and say the f word themselves as they listen in awe. Maybe the move to a 5 piece has enabled that freedom, and certainly new guitarist Will Price has added a new element to the band. If Lee is a Guitar God, Will is the newly annointed DEMON-LORD! That riff-solo-riff interplay is truly astonishing.
There are so many things to love about this album it's hard to say which bit is better than the other, but I'll try and mention as many as I can. The song writing and performances are obviously top notch. This is a band that could hold their own on any stage against any metal band anywhere. The production is more polished than on previous albums but doesn't lose that high energy edginess the boys have in their delivery. There isn't a single filler song on the album. They all reach out, grab you by the throat and scream "listen to us!!!" There are more than a few songs that will become regulars on my rock show (Stranglehold, Absolom, Crimson Tide and the awesome riff-laden Try to Get Some Sleep) and I am sure the Darkness & Chaos Show hosted by Nick Court here on the station will also add some more Servers songs to his show library.
In conclusion, this is probably their best album to date, features lots of nods to key influences and heroes (Tony Iommi on Incorruption, pre Difficult to Cure Ritchie Blackmore on Crimson Tide, even a nod to a certain radio show hosted by Tommy Vance at the end of the afore-mentioned Try To Get Some Sleep! There are more to find, but hey, I'm not going to do all the work for you! Go listen yourself and work them out!), but never fails to deliver that unique SERVERS sound and energy. If you like your metal dark and progressive and not fitting into any particular metal sub-categorisation, as well as full of social commentary and anger at injustice, this is the album for you.
I love it.