Album review: SALVA – Off The Deep End

SALVA - Off The Deep End

White Knight Records [Release date 26.10.18]

Not another band pillaging the vaults of pioneer classic rock acts such as Genesis Yes, Genesis, Tull, Floyd, Sabbath, Purple and the like?

Yes, Swedish proggers Salva, are back with their ‘own’ brand of symphonic/crossover prog.  It’s their fifth album and, to be fair, it’s a decent enough delivered.  But it just doesn’t add a jot to the history of rock that hasn’t been played out many times before.

The opener ‘King Of Nothing’ is Within Temptation (admittedly without female vocals) with shades of early Genesis – tick.  ‘Clarity I’ heads back to Cream/Sabbath territory (admittedly with some nice Hammond) – tick.  ‘Skyclad’ harks back to early Genesis (albeit with some evocative lead guitar work).  And ‘The Ghost Of Fives’ opens with a typically Floydian soundscape before seguing into a Tull pastiche with more Nursery Cryme-era Genesis thrown in for good measure.

But perhaps their biggest crime is that most tracks overstay their welcome.  This could have been a much sharper album if each track wasn’t extended way beyond its purposeful lifespan with endlessly repeated riffs and refrains.  Just because it’s ‘prog’ doesn’t mean you have to fill the whole 80 minutes CD capacity.

And as if to prove the point – the most bizarre of things – an AOR country, gospel infused ballad ‘Clarity IV’ is thrown in for good measure?!

So by the time the final 11 minute Genesis inspired symphonic ‘epic’ ‘Brickshort’ – a number almost too predictable to be true – arrived, I’d just about lost the will to live.

This week I reviewed (and listened to for perhaps the first time in my 60+ years) The Moody Blues In Search Of The Lost Chord (1968).  And do you know what? It still sounded a) fresh and b) like no one other than The Moody Blues.

But as the twenty teens grind towards a slow close, it seems that ‘innovation’ is a word perhaps forever lost to rock.   It’s enough to make you want to throw yourself ‘off the deep end’.   **1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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