One thing I always loved about Pantera’s The Great Southern Trendkill was that it started off with the guttural scream of a pissed off man and nothing but ear-splitting metal. It was the perfect response to the haters saying they’d gone pop; after all, their previous record, Far Beyond Driven, had debuted at No. 1 on the overall Billboard chart, causing many to label them as sellouts. In Pantera’s mind, it was the only acceptable response.
Saving Grace’s only acceptable response to what they’re feeling right now is what they’ve come to call The Urgency. It’s a wonderful collection of hardcore songs that explores new lyrical territory for the band, accompanied by a fresh look at hardcore.
The first track, “+0,” let’s us know just how urgent they’re talking. It’s ear-splitting metal with that same Pantera groove — the air horn introduction needed to get your attention, and, like Pantera, it lets you know they aren’t kidding around. This track, combined with the next two, are a wonderful start to a passion-fueled album.
The bulk of the record is old-school hardcore, so the breakdowns and chugs are par for the course. It’s a two-stepper’s delight, bringing the punk-infused guitar stylings to back-to-back tracks “Descent” and “Horse Apples,” with the latter slowing it down to molasses to doom you out at the end. The record picks up speed with “The Banks of the Otara” before hitting its groove again. What impresses me the most about the arch of the record is that when the band moves out of their comfort zone of two-step heaven, they actually do a phenomenal job, surprising the listener with their songwriting choices. It makes the album fun to listen to. And in a sea of punk and hardcore where it’s hard to separate your band, the veterans in Saving Grace have a handle on it. The Urgency should be recommended listening for the new generation of hardcore.