The doom riff: something with which every listener of metal is familiar with. Bands like Sleep and Kyuss mastered the art behind it long ago, and today practitioners like The Sword and Wo Fat carry on in their legacy. Many an upstart young band has tried to reach the same heights that the greats have summited, and many have failed. There’s some mystical art that remains secret even after all these years, and the ancient practitioners have done a good job of keeping it hidden.
The unfortunate effect of this is that we don’t see new bands that can throw down excellent slow jams pop up every day, or even every year. The pool of artists is small, but it’s gotten a little bigger with the introduction of Savanah by way of their debut EP, Deep Shades, a delicious doomy Austrian desert rock/metal treat.
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For a first EP, this is an incredible release. Combining elements of aggressive, midtempo doom riffing with a heavy psychedelic sound and semi-wailed, semi-sung Electric Wizard-esque vocals, Deep Shades is the aural equivalent of driving through the desert with all the windows down as a hot breeze blows across the arid landscape. The rumbling, driving bass drags the music along at an appropriately tepid pace, and it’s really the star of the show here: perfectly accompanying the excellent guitar riffing and fittingly minimal drumming, Savanah’s bassist is the real MVP. Its growling, grumbling lowness sets a perfect tone for the EP, and it lays down some incredibly grungy and dirty grooves throughout the release’s 32 minutes.
The vocal performance also deserves a special shoutout: the cough-syrup-drenched, atmospheric psychedelia that shines through by way of the vocalist’s voice adds a quality to the music that makes it wholly unique. It’s his reverberating delivery that notches Deep Shades up from “very good” to “great”. Energetic, visceral, and wide, his performance is, more than anything, what dictates the music’s vibe.
Savanah shows nothing but further promise across the entire EP, and whatever they have in store next will, I’m sure, be an incredible treat for us all. So, if you want some incredibly high-quality doom riffing in your life, courtesy of Austria’s finest, pick up Deep Shades. You won’t be disappointed.