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Salva: Left To Burn

Salva's sophomore release is a clear statement of the band's increasing musical maturity. It's more refined than their debut, and the band has apparently found its niche. Left To Burn is more focused and refined, and the instrumental and vocal performances are measurably enhanced - but you won't find quite the devil-may-care variety we saw in A Handful Of Earth.

Imagine third-wave progressive rock with strong Jethro Tull influences and a strong 1970s prog influence and you'll have a good idea of what to expect. The lineup is the traditional rock ensemble, but the fact the band is now a quintet rather than a trio also plays into its more established sound. Rich textures are added by 'Trons, Moogs and Hammonds, mandolin, flute (samples) and French accordion.

Band leader Per Malmberg's vocals remain the defining characteristic of Salva's music. They will find limited appeal with some listeners, yet for others, they will be the standout feature. His delivery is in a strong Ian Anderson-styled mid-range - albeit with a somewhat different timbre - and the vocal lines are typically pushed way in front of the mix yielding a sound that stops short of strident but certainly demands your attention. Malmberg's rich tones are best appreciated when held back in the mix, or when leading multi-part choruses such as those in "Clara Leaving". Love them or hate them - his vocals lend Left To Burn a folksy tone that, despite the relatively straightforward lyrics, will be appreciated by fans of acts like classic Jethro Tull or the more contemporary Guy Manning.

The lyrics are all in English, except for "Ord Ver.2" which is an interesting Swedish-language piece - very melodic, nice instrumentation, and the foreign language prose has a pleasing lilt. "Stained" is far heavier, although it has a soft undertone. It's mostly instrumental but whispered vocals are pushed to the front of the mix and it closes with a big wall of sound led by a guitar solo and an interesting staccato bass-and-male-chorus motif. Quite fun.

"Aska" is a 9+ minute all-instrumental track that starts with a relaxed acoustic guitar, soon enhanced by a flute and 'Tron that introduce the theme, then it settles into a series of pleasing, head-nodding sections in which each instrument takes its turn in the lead role, building on an essentially simple but pleasing theme. Tight and nicely constructed, this piece has an elegantly simple appeal and is probably the standout track.

Left To Burn will have equal appeal to fans of modern-era third wave and to those who preferred mainstream '70s prog.

Track Listing:
1. No greater wrath (8:37)
2. Ord ver. 2 (4:49)
3. A dying rose (10:47)
4. Clara leaving (6:34)
5. Aska (9:05)
6. Stained (5:49)
7. Underneath (10:05)

Added: September 24th 2007
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: The Band's Website
Hits: 3514
Language: english

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