SAVAGE HANDS | Barely Alive (Album)


‘Barely Alive’ is the debut album by Savage Hands, a new band who come from Virginia and Maryland in the US, and have members (Mike Garrow, Justin Hein) that were previously in When Cities Sleep and Cufboys (Jonny Melton).


‘Barely Alive’ will be released on SharpTone Records on 2nd March 2018.


First track ‘Red’ is the band’s recently released Debut Single, and is about a relationship gone sour. It’s about not taking any shit from that person any more, whomever that may be. The song starts with a pounding beat from the rhythm section, and you can’t help but nod your head to it. The vocals are clean and clear at the start, with the lyric “I can’t stand the sight of you any more”, giving way to utter emotional fury from the bridge, with the line “It’s sad to hear that you’re still breathing”. The vocal control between aggression and softness in the latter part of the song is brilliant. ‘Red’ finishes how it started, with that hypnotic thrashing beat. The chorus is still whirling around in my head long after the song has finished.


‘Barely Alive’ begins with a delicious riff, fuzzy bass and beaty drums, then Mike Garrow’s vocals kick in. For the most part they are melodic on this track and the tune is harmonious and has some great sing-a-long “Woah!” parts. The song carries on some of the anger felt in the first track, but also feels rather sad, the chorus is especially poignant; “Can someone make me come to my senses…I think this emptiness is endless, I’ve nothing left to show”.


‘Unconditional’ has a slightly different feel from the first two tracks as it starts with a slow beat and a lovely distorted vocal. You can hear a lot more of the guitar, which is refreshing. It also has a softer feel up to the melodic bridge. The catchy hooks in this track will have you singing it long after it has finished.


‘Know It All’ begins with thrashing drums and then comes a full assault on your senses by all five members of the band. It’s full on, melodic, hardcore. Great use of distorted vocals in this track too, it really works well. The lyrics in this are angry too, “Let me count the times, I paid for your every lie”, but the song is so damn catchy!


I’m surprised when ‘Taken’ starts as I wasn’t expecting to hear a ballad. Although it catches me out, it’s fantastic to hear the band all stripped back. The sound of the acoustic guitar picking with Mike Garrow’s softer vocals shows that the band are capable of more than just the angry, hardcore stuff. This softer side works well too, although I personally prefer the heavier tracks.


‘Dream Dead’ starts with a lovely catchy hook, before the by now familiar vocals and beat begin. This track has some beautiful ethereal sounding guitar work in it, and there is some spoken/shouted group vocals that will no doubt be a crowd pleaser at live gigs. The whole song is ridiculously captivating.


Last track ‘Your Own Hell’ begins with a fading repeated riff before plunging us into the full force of Savage Hands. The pounding beat of the rhythm section bursts into life and those melodic vocals join in. There’s a pretty cool guitar solo in the latter part of the song, but it’s the words “I’m not sure what to say; tell me what it is that you just can’t let go” and the tune that get stuck in my head.


‘Barely Alive’ is more akin to an EP than an album at only seven tracks, but they do pack a punch. Anthemic songs full of melodic, harmonious vocals with sing-a-long catchy choruses, relentless beats and memorable hooks, Savage Hands’ debut is energetic and full of promise. I think it definitely deserves a listen and I’ll be certain to check these lads out live if they venture over to the UK.


Savage Hands are:-

Mike Garrow

Justin Hein

Ryan Evans

Nathan O'Brien

Jonny Melton


‘Barely Alive’ track listing:-


Barely Alive


Know It All


Dream Dead

Your Own Hell


Pre-order the album here:-


Find out more about the band and watch the video for debut single ‘Red’ here:-


Connect with the band here:-

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