You can do anything that you put your mind to. Everybody knows that old adage, and independent hard rock band Saul is proof that the noted words of wisdom are in fact true. While the band got its start during the high school years of its founding members, brothers Blake and Zach Bedsaul, the band wasted little time chasing its dream, eventually hitting the road and releasing its debut studio recording Aeons last March. Now less than two years after its release, the band released its debut album, Rise as Equals. The 14-song record is a positive second studio offering and equally strong full-length debut for the band. That is proven in part early on in the song ‘Brother.’ It will be discussed shortly. ‘Rise as Equals,’ the album’s title track is another example of what the album has to offer audiences. It will be addressed a little later. ‘Sticks and Stones’ is yet another example of what makes Saul’s new album stand out. It will be addressed later, too. All three songs noted here do their own part to make this record worth hearing. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole becomes a work that is the beginning of Saul’s rise to equal fame with the band’s more well-known counterparts.
Saul’s debut full-length studio recording Rise as Equals is the beginning of this band’s rise to fame equal to that of its contemporaries. That is proven in part early on in the album’s run in the form of the song ‘Brother.’ The band’s members waste no time launching into the nearly four-and-a-half-minute song’s musical arrangement, taking off right from the song’s outset. The crunching guitars, bass and drums couple with front man Blake Bedsaul’s vocal delivery to instantly conjure thoughts of Hellyeah, Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin. It doesn’t let up until late in the song’s run, either. That moment when the song’s energy pulls back is well-placed, too. That is because it helps to heighten the emotion in the song’s lyrical theme right at that moment.
Speaking of the song’s lyrical content, Bedsaul explained in an interview about the song’s topic. “Lyrically, this song defines what I should have said to my brother in his last moments,” Bedsaul said in the interview. “This song cuts deep for me, and it’s a constant reminder that life is fleeting. Tell the people in your life that you love them.” This message is delivered clearly as Bedsaul sings in the lead verse, “I write this letter/It’s a letter I’ll never send/Words I’d never say/Would you read it anyway/Tell me brother, what’s my fate/Did you see the sunrise/Did you see the rain/We’ve come so far/Penniless in pain/This is my fate/The world awaits/Hold my hands and tell me that it’s alright/Are you proud of everything I’ve done in my life.” From here, Bedsaul goes on to sing in the song’s chorus asking pleadingly to his brother “Are you still proud of me after everything that I’ve done?” Bedsaul continues in similar fashion in the song’s second verse. Ultimately what this comes across as (at least to this critic) is a person who is dealing with a lot of personal guilty and heavy feelings in general. Those thoughts and feelings are translated very well. When it is considered alongside the companion that is the song’s musical arrangement, the song in whole becomes a work that easily holds its own against its more well-known noted counterparts, and proves easily that it could just as easily be played on any mainstream/active rock station along with songs from those bands. It is just one of the songs featured in this EP that makes the record appealing for its noted audiences. ‘Rise as Equals,’ the album’s title track is another example of its strength.
Much as with ‘Brother,’ the musical arrangement featured in ‘Rise as Equals’ is a very industrial/melodic metal style composition. What audiences will appreciate that despite having a very similar stylistic approach to that of ‘Brother’ and the album’s other works, it still boasts its own unique, heavy sound that also boasts its own share of melody, too. The heaviness and the sincerity in the melody serves well to help deliver the message of unity featured in the song’s lyrical content.
The noted message of unity is made clear right from the song’s lead verse, which states, “You are my equals/We bleed when we’re cut/We weep when we’re torn/We love and we lose/We scar and we bruise/From the day that we’re born/We fall and we fight/We’re all damaged inside/Under our skin/We all want to win/We see eye to eye/I will be there for you/You will be there for me.” It is made just as clear, if not more so, in the song’s second verse, which states, “There is no above/There is no below/We’re willing to bleed for what we believe/We all reap what we sow/I will be there for you/You will be there for me/RISE.” The song’s chorus adds even more impact, stating, “This is my tribe/These are my people/Sisters and brothers/You are my equals/Live till we die/Together we’re lethal/Sisters and brothers/You are my equals/I won’t let you go/You are my equals/I won’t let you go.” Once again, audiences get a proud statement of unity even despite the world’s situation. Together with the song’s noted equally powerful musical arrangement, the two elements jointly make this song its own impacting work and just one more notable addition to Rise as Equals. ‘Sticks and Stones,’ which comes late in the record’s run, is another of the album’s strongest entries.
The musical arrangement featured in ‘Sticks and Stones’ is another industrial style song that also adds in some very distinct hardcore influences a la Hatebreed, Terror, etc. That is evidenced through the pairing of the heavy, crunching guitars and screaming vocal delivery style. What makes the arrangement even more interesting is the pairing of the more melodic elements alongside that heavier side. The contrast is noticeable in the two sounds, yet the band still manages to make the pairing work, and work well at that. It pairs well with the song’s equally powerful lyrical theme, which focuses on a toxic personality who has caused an otherwise good, controlled person to lose their cool.
The noted theme is inferred right from the song’s outset, as it states, “Sticks and stones won’t break our bones/Close knit failing scene/Watch me live your broken dreams/I said I’d never get low I’d never get petty/You’ve broken the dam and opened the levee/Sticks and stones won’t break our bones/Crooked smiles I’m not your martyr/Want to be me you better try harder.” The song’s second verse hints even more at the noted theme, as it states, “Always doubted me/They stand in disbelief/I knew I’d be the king at the top of the pile/When you see me I’ll be nothing but smiles/Sticks and stones won’t break our bones/Can’t take what you never earned/Can’t fake what you never learned.” The song goes on to outright call the person in question “Two-faced.” That speaks volumes when considered alongside the rest of the song’s noted lyrical content. Taking all of this into account, the heaviness and fire in the song’s musical arrangement becomes even more impacting, especially when coupled with this no nonsense message. When the song in whole is considered along with the other songs noted here and the rest of the album’s works, the album, in its entirety, proves to be the point at which Saul really starts its rise to fame equal to that of its fellow metal and hard rock acts.
Saul’s debut album Rise as Equals is a record that proves it will not take long before this band is equal to its more well-known counterparts in the hard rock and metal community. That is evidenced in the record’s musical and lyrical content, as pointed out here. When the three songs examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the record in whole leaves no doubt, that Saul’s star is on the rise.
More information on Rise as Equals is available now along with all of Saul’s current live dates and more at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.