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Laden Saint - Laden Saint (Reissue)

Laden Saint
Laden Saint
by Ian Yeara at 31 May 2021, 8:36 PM

This one is going to require some disclaimers; first of all I don't often enjoy traditional heavy metal. It's often quite simplistic and the vocals are almost always a turn off (this album is no exception). There's some more traditional style metal that I have enjoyed over the years, Iron Maiden and Realm come to mind. That style of US power metal, or speed metal, or traditional metal, whatever you want to call it, just doesn't really appeal to my tastes. There's no focus on vocal melodies, all the melodious content is focused on the guitar riffs and even then it's not that prominent. This album does have some interesting guitar riffs, coupled with boring generic ones too, but the real gem of this album is the bass work. Brad Remsing is a badass, and takes what would otherwise have been an utterly unremarkable album for me into a curiosity at least.

I’m going to be upfront with you, I couldn’t stand the vocals on this album and multiple times caused me to stop and take a break, it was difficult to get through the whole album in one sitting. However once I sat down and really paid attention to the details I found enough interesting elements to keep me going. I already mentioned the bass work being excellent; the tone he uses and the fact that within the songwriting he’s allowed to do more than your average metal bass player is really cool. Not to mention the mix really lets the bass shine through and I always like it when I can hear the bass. The guitar work is also impressive, for the most part. There are stretches where the guitar isn’t doing much of interest, just typical rhythm guitar, background riffs, but when the guitar gets to shine, boy does it shine. It almost seems like a different band honestly, the instrumental sections of this album aren’t just good, they’re great, it’s just too bad the songwriting doesn’t take full advantage of that. Almost every song has a moment where the guitar really gets to go off and shred like nobody's business. The solos are creative and interesting, but even more key the bass and guitar really work well together, the players have a lot of chemistry and they just work really well together. Joe Casper is the guitar player, but he’s also the vocalist… it’s just my opinion but this should have been an instrumental album. If you took all the instrumental sections of this album and turned this album from a 10 track heavy metal album into a 4 or 5 track instrumental album I think it would have been awesome. These guys are great musicians, I just don’t particularly care for the style of songwriting they were going for. This is why I’m having a hard time pointing out individual songs, each song has material that I like and material I really don’t like. The songs that stood out to me the most were Mindbender, Laden Saint, Upon the Throne, and The Saint. It was definitely easier for me to appreciate the faster songs, but I give them credit for writing some almost proggy heavy metal in places. I love it when bands write extended bridges and for some constructive criticism, it would benefit this band greatly to write more extended instrumental sections.

Now I’ve been pretty harsh overall on this, but remember I don’t really care for traditional heavy or US power metal as a lot of my friends would call it, but if you do like that kind of music then I think you’ll really enjoy this album. The riffs are solid, the bass sounds fantastic and the guitar solos are worth the price of admission. There’s two main things I can’t get past; as I said I don’t really care for the vocals, but it goes beyond that, the vocal melodies are really uninteresting so it becomes an intellectual problem for me. Do I really not like the vocals, or is it just how they are used that I don’t like? Probably a little bit of both, but in the end we’ve got an above average album instrumentally and a sub average album in every other aspect.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 5
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. Mindbender
2. Laden Saint
3. Impressions
4. You’re Mine Tonight
5. Upon the Throne
6. Looking for the Doctor
7. Devil’s Den
8. Kill for the Thrill
9. The Saint
10. Psycho
Brad Remsing - Bass, Vocals
Scott Spencer - Drums
Joe Kasper - Guitars, Vocal
Record Label: Stormspell Records


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