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Album Review: Savage Moods, “Dark Matter” (If Music in Minnesota Was as Pretentious as Pitchfork, I’d Give it an 8.3) 

Savage Moods
Savage Moods

Savage Moods combine hard rock, alternative rock, funk, and more in their unique sound. Their new album, Dark Matter, was released this year.  

Be sure to check out the release show for Dark Matter on Saturday, July 20th at the Icehouse.

The cliché in the music business is that the demos for the album are often better than the completed product. The idea is that they’re more real and truer to the source than the polished-up studio recordings. 

But is that true of album reviews? 

kinda thought so as I was putting together my review of Savage Moods’ new album, Dark Matter. I liked it a lot, but I found that the more I tried to shape it into “a real album review” the phonier it sounded. I couldn’t get across what I was trying to say. 

So, for this final review, I’m posting the raw notes I took as I listened to it a few times. They get across how I feel about the album a lot better – and far truer – than the several attempts I made to make it “real.” 
 
It’s actually kind of cool. You get a window into how the mind of a music reviewer works, if you’re into that sort of thing. Plus, you get my truest feelings about an album that I really hope you listen to and enjoy as much as I did. 

These unfiltered, unedited notes jump around the way my scribblings for album reviews often do. There are notes to myself, re-done sentences, and even some harsh self-criticism 

Enjoy! 

Savage Moods - Dark Matter album cover
Savage Moods – Dark Matter album cover

1. Wizard of Pain –  Alice Cooper’s “Schools Out” covered by Black Sabbath. Intense, riff-led rock n’ roll.  

On their second album, local rock band Savage Moods combine intense, riff-led rock n’ roll with intelligent songwriting. Fill this out.

2. Lucid Dream – Another heavy one, off the rails. 

3. Going Home – Fast, intro bass riff, turns into a heavy grunge track. More than a throwback, Savage Moods take the format and make it their own. It’s not really that grunge. Re-write that.  

After a fast and furious bass riff, “Going Home” turns into a heavy, swaggering quasi-grunge track. 

4. Death Man – Pretty fast, man. Punk energy.  

Songs don’t overstay their welcome. They have no fat, and as such are not only easy to digest, but also make you want to come back to them. 

5. Paranoid – Another tasteful riff (tasteful isn’t a great word, change it). While not quite as memorable as the Black Sabbath song that shares its name (then again, what is?), the lyrics are possibly better and it’s still a standout track. 

6. Dragonslayer – Heavy, plodding riff (in a good way, I always thought plodding was good). Again, very Sabbath-y, but in a “we aren’t afraid to show our roots and build on them” sort of way, not a “generic copycat Greta van Fleet doing Zeppelin” sort of way. 

Not afraid to take short, kick-ass solos, as on “Dragonslayer,”  

7. Neighborhood – Experimental. Beginning sludge-y bass riff and atmospherics, almost like Alice in Chains. Builds up to a single verse at the end. Interesting. 

8. Rainbow Eyes – Poppier chord progression than the rest of the album. Definitely Savage Moods at their catchiest and poppiest.  

9. Black Floyd – Another song led by a bass riff. Defies description. Spacy, but not in a Pink Floyd type of way. Shades of 90s alternative rock, funk (especially in the bass), pop, and even folk. More great songwriting, great melody. 

10. Dark Side – Another nice riff and catchy. 70s rock chord progression. Very janky riff in the middle. 

Combination virtuosic and reckless punk instrumentation throughout, especially the funky bass and spacy, out-there guitar work. That’s not to leave out drummer Anthony Gore, whose heavy backing gives each song its foundation. 

11. Totally Great Vibes – An insane song haha. Starts out kinda poppy, gets crazy in the middle, and then ends like a normal rock song. These guys are creative. 

12. Future Man – Ooh, I like this one. Has a rock energy but a dark edge, thanks to its smart juxtaposition (too “music reviewer-y” of a word, change it) of major and minor chords. Has a slow, dark, very 70s sounding break in the middle that fits in pretty cool.  

On their second album, Savage Moods take the promise of their first album to the next level. That’s too cliché, think of something better, ugh.

Written by Erik Ritland

Erik is a journalist and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition to writing and editing for a number of local outlets, he founded Rambling On, a Minnesota-focused blog and podcast about music, sports, and culture, in 2012. He began working for Music in Minnesota in 2018 and is a writer, editor, and social media content strategist.

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