How Italy’s Sawthis are not a household name in the metal community, world-wide, is beyond me. Babhell, the band’s forth release is eleven tracks of well written, well played, well recorded, and well produced tracks. From the very start at track #1, Babhell takes you on an intense journey, albeit, a sometimes frantic one. Well positioned, “The Burning Place,” is the perfect song to set the standard for the entire album, and the standard is set very high with the song’s fast pace, clean and dirty vocals, great melodies, infectious groove, and well executed solos. Actually, this description of song #1 can be said about almost every song on Babhell.
As I listened to the album, I started to have a lot of “sounds like” moments. Sounds like: Sepultura, Pantera, Hatebreed, Lamb of God, Slayer, Ramstein, Corrosion of Conformity…and then I stopped myself. I realized that the men of Sawthis are obviously fans of music, and likely fans of many different genres of rock/metal. The result is a uniquely blended sound that they make all their own. To label Sawthis as death metal I think is a disservice to the band. With Babhell, Sawthis showcases their groove, death, thrash, melodic, and metalcore tendencies, in a modern way.
Throughout, Babhell is groove-driven, properly constructed with choruses and solos, galloping riffs, and nearly non-stop momentum. The three odd-men out of the 11-track package are: “Start a New Game,” “Waiting for Love,” and “Never Alone,” but it isn’t a bad thing.
The intensity of the record is admirable, and the choice to give the listener a breather at “Waiting for Love” (track #8) is appreciated. It has a noticeably slower pace, but is still highly groove-driven and a bit provocative in its construction (like Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” or Corrosion of Conformity’s “13 Angels”). The song doesn’t sound anything like either song referenced above, but that feel was there for me.
As I said, as the listener you’ll be appreciative of the breather with “Waiting for Love,” as you’ll need it as you approach “Empty Wall,” which is highly intense.
I’m really glad Sawthis didn’t end Babhell with track #10, “Never Alone,” because that would be a bit confusing. “Never Alone” is a pretty song, likely one that they needed to write. If you listen to this release from start to finish, you’ll find that you are sort of deflated, or abruptly stopped in your tracks with this ballad, but once you come to terms with it, it’s quite enjoyable. Because of the pace of the first nine songs, I’m not sure there is a perfect place to put this enjoyable ballad, so I think where Sawthis chose to have it rest is just fine.
Ending with “No Time to Die” was a smart move. It brings you right back to where you were earlier in the journey, and leaves you wanting to go back to track #1 and do it all over again.
While the entire release is fantastic, stand out songs for me were; “The Burning Place,” “Start a New Game,” “Through Hell,” and “Seabed.” But it was really hard to pick.
Sawthis have put in the time. They are a solid band that seems to know exactly who they are, where they want to go, and just how to get there. Babhell shows that they are in it to stay, and in it for the right reasons. The musicianship is stellar, and if you are a fan of metal, Babhell should be in your collection.