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Saul - Rise as Equals

Rise as Equals
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 17 November 2020, 6:47 AM

The Iowa based Hard Rock band SAUL is the result of a profound passion for music shared by brothers Blake and Zach Bedsaul. They always knew music would be their life and worked tirelessly to develop a sound that pushes the boundaries of modern rock music. With a solidified line-up now, their latest album titled “Rise as Equals” contains fourteen tracks.

“Trial by Fire” leads off the album. It opens with a heavy groove of rhythm guitars, bass, and drums. The vocals are pretty bossy in their delivery. The sound is plenty thick, and it borders on the Alternative genre for me. “Lookin to Fight” opens with another thick and heavy guitar riff, and some lead notes. The cadence of the vocals is what gives away the genre. It has some melodies as well as some vocal harmonies. “Brother” begins with a tough and aggressive riff that is muted in the first verses, then comes at you harder in the second verses. The short little vocal harmonies before the chorus are nicely done.

“King of Misery” is a slower song, with a riff that moves around. At first, the vocals are soft and alluring, but come together in the chorus with a bit bolder of a sound. This song is more in the vein of “woe is me” when it comes to the lyrics. “Get it Right” opens with an aggressive riff and some airy vocals that turn on a dime into rough and tough vocals, retreating back and forth. The chorus is nice and full and some Djenty tones follow. “Rise as Equals” begins with some fanciful guitar work that lets you know the band are serious musicians. Blake really puts his all into the vocals, that’s for sure. He snarls when he’s angry, and he lightens up when he feels more pensive.

“Inside” begins with some eerie lead guitar notes to go along with a slightly Progressive guitar riff, and the band begins to show a bit more of their repertoire. The harsh vocals in the chorus are a nice touch as well. This song really resonates with me for some reason. “Don’t Close your Eyes” opens with some lighter tones but gets heavy pretty quickly thereafter. The main riff shifts a bit here, offering something a bit more diverse. “Levee” opens with some light piano and more emotive clean vocals. It’s one of the more lighter songs on the album, but still with that impassioned grit the band has for their music.

“Here and Now” is a quick three-minute burner that features a heavy guitar riff and some variation in the vocal delivery. Sometimes it is light and thoughtful, while other times it is hard and angry. “The Toll” opens with a choppy guitar riff with some staccato accents. The vocals are emotive, whether they are passive or more aggressive, and the bass, drums, and guitars work particularly well together here. “Things Change” fades in to a hastened pace track with some more outstanding guitar work. At this point in the album, the listener is starting to fatigue just a bit, but so far they have managed to hold my attention fairly well.

“Sticks and Stones” opens with another heavy groove, and a little synth if I am not mistaken. The vocals are fully raging here…there is no room for anything but anger in the emotions of the vocals. “Welcome to the Machine” closes the album. It takes just a while to kick in. When it does, it hits you pretty hard in terms of your emotional response.

This is honest, straight-forward hard-working Hard Rock/Heavy Metal music, and it’s obvious that the band has honed their sound. But 14 tracks of nearly the same length and similar sounds is a bit of a hard pill to swallow for me. There is just enough variety from track to track, but a few of them felt like fillers for me. Without solos, this also contributes to its heterogeneous sound. It’s a good album, and played with some skill for sure, but although the band has an obvious passion for their music, they need to find a way to set themselves apart from other bands that sound similar to them. I’m confident that they will be able to do so.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. Trial by Fire
2. Lookin to Fight
3. Brother
4. King of Misery
5. Get it Right
6. Rise as Equals
7. Inside
8. Don’t Close your Eyes
9. Levee
10. Here and Now
11. The Toll
12. Things Change
13. Sticks and Stones
14. Welcome to the Machine
Blake Bedsaul – Vocals
Zach Bedsaul – Guitars, Vocals
William McIlravy – Bass, Vocals
Myles Clayborne – Drums
Record Label: Spinefarm Records


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