Salva is a Swedish band that has been initiated by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Per Malmberg. Together with his childhood friend Stefan Gavik (guitars and vocals) the first steps towards Salva were made, but when Per asked another friend; keyboard player Johan Linqvist, the band was formed and as a trio the first album was released. After The Handful Of Earth in 2004, the follow-up Left To Burn in 2007, Salva now released their third album called Thirst. Since their debut CD the band gathered Johan's younger brother Frederik Lindqvist as a bass player and old high school friend Lasse Bolin replaced the drum computer on the first album, making sure Salva became a real band.
Musically the band is influenced by the older seventies progressive rock with a lot of folk elements and by having two keyboard players, Salva is very keyboard orientated, but there is always a cool guitar to make the contrast between the instruments. Another kind of trademark of the band is the use of Beatlesque vocals; multiple vocals and a ton of background vocals to sweeten things up.
When The first song; Exclamation Point begins, I don't notice the folky elements; powerful guitars and fierce vocals give you a touch of Threshold, mainly by the staccato guitar, but when the chorus begins, parts of Electric Light Orchestra and A.C.T. come to mind. All in all we're presented with a pleasant combination and a promising opener for the album. Primoris Iugum definitely has the folk the band referred to, starting with Mago De Oz riffs the accordion then takes over and gives the song a true traditional feeling. If Per wouldn't have written the song, you could imagine that this was a traditional folk song spiced up with a heavy guitar. The multi-layered vocals are something you have to like, but a slightly Calexico guitar makes the song OK again. Almost twelve minutes of retro progressive music on Adjustment For All, is nicely built with a stunning synth solo over an electric piano-a song for the keyboard minded progressive rock fan. Can Of Worms is the only song written by Stefan who also takes the vocal duties and does not result in a song that takes a turn into another direction than the rest of the music as the music is slightly more riff orientated and to the point, but fits perfectly with the rest of the album. Frost is a nice progressive song with powerful guitars and a lot of keyboards, but the vocals are too mediocre to really stand out, although a nice keyboard solo, played over a strong guitar still make it work for me. Losing Battle is a piano ballad and unfortunately this title says enough, the song is quite simple and sounds like it should be played in church. This one does not do it for me, but luckily One Week closes the album, ten minutes of convincing music, driven by a strong guitar and all the room for the keyboards to excel. For me the most intriguing parts of the album are all fitted into this song; great sounding guitar parts, cool piano and a soaring keyboard-a nice way to end the album.
Salva is a band that in my opinion tries its best to compete with the major league bands but never really gets a chance. The majority of the songs are OK, but I don't like the over the top folk influences in Primoris Iugum and the multi-layered vocals are too present for me to really like them. Talking about the vocals, there is something in Per's vocals and it is hard to describe, but they don't stand out. All in all; nice but no cigar. Especially when the best song of the album is the opener.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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