Hard rock is the biggest cliché in the world, but really, the formula works for a reason--there's no ignoring the rush that a low riff, a snarling singer and a loud, crashing cymbal create. So it's heartwarming to hear one of the fresher hard rock releases of recent memory come out of Dallas, but Saboteur's success isn't exactly out-of-nowhere, as the members have honed their skills for years in two of Dallas' most underappreciated rock bands, Slowride and Red Animal War. This combination of the latter's songwriting and the former's rhythm section takes the best of both bands--the aggression of RAW and the radio-hungry hooks of Slowride--and slams them together in a meaty, hairy self-titled EP. All the big, blaring sounds you could want are here in mass quantities, particularly the bloody razor-blade guitars of "Mommy's Little Anarchist," yet the brains behind the brawn are Saboteur's saving grace. "Mission Keep You Here" finds guitarist Justin Wilson pleading for a girlfriend to run away with him, but he avoids annoying emo overtones without sounding like a chauvinist hard rocker, either, and "Le Saboteur Produit Son Couteau" has a white-hot pop-punk build that will have you banging your head against the wall by the time Wilson shouts, "Take my hand, I'm a burying angel." Dude, with 20 minutes of rock this bold, we just might.
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sam Machkovech