Friday, October 5, 2012


One of the finest albums of 2012 comes from the state of Oregon. Desperate Night is the title of the latest release from apocalyptic metal merchants, Saint. On the heels of their 2010 masterpiece, Hell Blade, this offering is just as strong and perhaps even a bit heavier. No one does 1980’s heavy metal better.

Opening with a intro entitled The Crucible, which reminds me of Slayer’s Raining Blood albeit at half the speed, the band tears into the first track Crucified which drives along at a solid up tempo clip. Tight, punchy with a great melody. Yet it gets even stronger with the next track The Key; heavy, catchy and you will immediately hit the replay button.

Throughout this outstanding release the energy and power just flow out of each song. End of the World with its warning to those who claim to know when the end will arrive, plows along and leads you right into one of the strongest tracks with Let It Rock. This track is pure head banging joy, the guitar moves like a freight train on a pure downhill track. In the Fray is up next and doesn’t let up for a moment with its strong combination of bass and guitar performances that just lock in and keep the freight moving.

As a matter of fact most of this album delivers exactly what you’d expect from Saint, with a caveat that it might even be better than you think. Inside Out follows the political slant of New World Order from 2010’s Hell Blade; however the chorus is even stronger with its gang vocal. Album closer Escape From the Fire is one of the heaviest tracks Saint has ever recorded, much akin musically to Judas Priest’s Painkiller era. As a matter of fact a lot of Desperate Night falls into that era of Judas Priest, at least to these ears.

The production values are top notch again with a more natural sounding snare drum this time out. The guitars sound simply fabulous and Richard Lynch’s bass is a tone monster, wow! Jerry Johnson shows again that he is a fantastic guitar player who fits the Saint sound and his solos are a real highlight.

The only things that left me flat were the completely out of place Zombie Shuffle, a bluesy track with its swing time beat and the reworked version of To Live Forever. TLF appeared on their album A Perfect Life released in 1999, and it really doesn’t fit this album at all. It is a much more commercial pop metal song, the lyrics come across as cliché and I’m not gonna beat a dead horse.

One item of note is that apparently this is the last album with Josh Kramer on lead vocal. Of the 13 tracks (two of which are instrumental intros and outros) Josh contributes vocals on 8 or 9 songs. I understand that Richard Lynch contributed a vocal on 1 or 2 songs. However Saint has already found a new lead vocalist in Brian Phyll Miller. Miller delivers the goods on the title track, good vocal tonality and strong delivery; after hearing this track it would seem that the vocal department is in good hands.

Desperate Night is a traditional metal fans delight. Fans of Judas Priest, Armored Saint, Saxon, and Accept should find something here to enjoy. A 9 axe review is what I’m giving as Saint continues to show that they’re relevant and up to the challenge of playing some of the best metal in the scene.
9 axe

1 comment:

MikeInFla said...

Great review, however I disagree w/ Zombie Shuffle & TLF. Listen closely to ZS and the vocal delivery sounds much like the studio version of JP's "The Ripper". I think it fits here perfectly. And TLF gives me a reason to NOT ever listen to The Perfect Life again as it was the only good track on it. Maybe it should have been included as a non-listed bonus track at the tail end of the CD? Either way not a bad song on it. I agree with 9 out of 10.