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Saffire – Where The Monsters Dwell

Where the Monsters Dwell
by Emmalyn Campbell at 30 June 2018, 9:30 AM

SAFFIRE is a Melodic Hard Rock band from Gothenburg, Sweden. Formed in 2005, the group has released three full-length albums, including “Where The Monsters Dwell,” which was released on April 20th, 2018 and contains 11 tracks.

The eerie Hammond organ creates atmosphere on opening track “Wolf Among The Sheep” allowing for a great contrast when the rest of the band comes in with speed and high energy. The chorus is ambitious and not the most memorable, but it’s a redeemable song thanks to a fantastic guitar solo and vocalist Tobias Jansson holding nothing back. “Hard To Keep, Hard To Find” immediately grabs your attention with a clear, heavy riff, catchy verses, and a powerhouse chorus. In my opinion, this would’ve made a much better opening track for these reasons. Taking many creative twists and turns, it’s Melodic Hard Rock at its finest. “Valley Of The Damned” is heavier but does not sacrifice melody. The verses flow, and the guitar solo is beautiful, moody, and expertly shifts from slow to fast. The use of keys and harmonies also shows real diversity in songwriting.

Anton Roos proves that he’s quite a capable drummer in “Broken Crown,” taking center stage from the very beginning. In this song, the verses show promise as always, but the chorus does fall flat when compared to other tracks, though I have a thousand praises for the difficult guitar and keys work displayed. Unfortunately, “Where The Monsters Dwell” is an underwhelming title track. The riffs are too slow and not compelling enough to compete with what we’ve already heard, the chorus even more so. “How Cold Is Your Blood,” despite being a similar tempo, is much stronger. The verses almost remind me of something from a catchy 80s ballad, and the guitar work is lovely. “Road To Paradise” is a track with energized guitars and a driving bass and drum duo that never lets up. Like the track before, it’s helping to redeem the album by overshadowing the disappointing tracks, and nearly every song is showing a different side of the group through mature composition.

The beginning of “Perfectly Worthless” reminds me of an old DOKKEN tune, but the song does have a refreshing modern flare in the bridge and solo. “Dark Horizon” is certainly dark in its tone, lyrical content, commanding verses, and soothing yet heavy bridge. It’s hardly Melodic Hard Rock without a slow ballad, and “Fortress” is another example of beautiful, mature songwriting. The use of piano is gorgeous, the melody is as good as it’s ever been, and the acoustic guitar is marvelous. It’s very hard not to be moved by this song, which builds in intensity, as one’s emotions would. The album closes with “The Rainmaker,” and it’s more than worthy. The keys are brilliant, the chorus is powerful, and it takes its time towards the end, which helps the listener appreciate every instrument and how they work together.

Where The Monsters Dwell” is definitely an album worth your time. There were only a few songs not as commendable as the others, but SAFFIRE has displayed versatility, creativity, balance, and respect to their influences. Unlike their counterparts in other genres, Melodic Hard Rock bands continue to push theirs forward and try new things, making them appealing to a variety of listeners.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. Wolf Among The Sheep
2. Hard To Keep, Hard To Find
3. Valley Of The Damned
4. Broken Crown
5. Where The Monsters Dwell
6. How Cold Is Your Blood
7. Road To Paradise
8. Perfectly Worthless
9. Dark Horizon
10. Fortress
11. The Rainmaker
Victor Olsson – Guitars
Tobias Jansson – Vocals
Dino Zuzic – Hammond and keys
Magnus Carlsson – Bass
Anton Roos – Drums
Record Label: Perris Records


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Edited 03 June 2020

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