Review: Saliva – In It to Win It


Artist: Saliva
Album: In It to Win It
Rating: 9.7/10

Although the band had been around for 4 years prior, most weren’t introduced to the hard rock sensation that is Saliva until the release of “Every Six Seconds” under Island Records in 2001. With the singles, “Click Click Boom”, “Your Disease” and “Superstar” the album has remained a favorite for fans until this day. ¬†While those particular tracks are easily recognizable in the Josey Scott era of their career, there are many hidden gems that most people seem to forget about. “Family Reunion”, “Twister”, “Back Into Your System”, “Rest In Pieces” and many many more show an emotional side of the band that most wouldn’t expect, given the hits on the radio that get played daily which are harder and more geared toward getting the listener out of their seat, rather than pulling heart strings. With the departure of Scott at the end of 2011, after 15 years with the band, the next frontman had some big shoes to fill. In early January 2012, it was announced that former Burn Season drummer, Bobby Amaru would be taking his place. Let me start by saying something: If you’re like me, you like to go look up YouTube videos to try and find performances of bands that you’ve never seen live. However, the YouTube videos of Bobby with Saliva do absolutely NO justice to how talented this man is! I saw them with my friends Autumn Stay for the first time a little over a year ago and I walked up, shook his hand and told him he blew me away! A few months ago, they released the title track “In It to Win It” to Bobby’s first album with the band (and first on their new label, Rum Bum Records) and it shows that aggression we’ve all come to love from the band. Again, while that is definitely one of the stand out tracks on the album, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. “In It to Win It” is filled with party anthems, ballads, ass-shaking tracks and everything in between! While many will still prefer the Scott-era Saliva, I can guarantee that this album will open up the flood gates for MANY new fans of all ages!

Lyrical Content: Lyrically, this album is Saliva to the core. Bobby Amaru has brought something new to the table that I feel like we haven’t seen from the band since “Back Into Your System”. You’ve got tracks like “Animal” and “In It to Win It”, which could easily be wrestling themes, boxing themes or be used as motivational tracks when getting ready to fight. Then you’ve got one of my favorites, “Rise Up”, which is a track about proving all those who look down on you wrong and unleashing your full potential! This track is also probably the heaviest on the album and really has that old school Saliva vibe to it. The one that kind of threw me for a loop is called “Redneck Freakshow”. This track gets in touch with the band’s southern side, speaking of cold beer, party’s that never stop and not giving a damn what anyone thinks of you. “White trash, cold beer, party never stops here! That’s how we roll in the redneck freakshow! Throw down, get high, middle finger to the sky, that’s how it goes in the redneck freakshow!” Despite the slight comedic value of the title, it’s definitely a stand out track and is one that I’m sure many Saliva fans will relate to and find themselves blasting at parties! Now, in the same respect, the band is filled with slower songs that show the beauty in Amaru’s voice, one of those being “Lost”. This track is about stopping to take a look at your life and soul-searching until you find who you are. “I’m awakened now, but I don’t know how I’m alive. I deserve to be buried underneath black skies! Am I dreaming from my grave or am have I fallen so far away that today I found myself lost for the last time!” We all have those days where we stop and look back on our lives and see how we’ve fallen short of what we wanted to be, feeling shame and disappointment in the fact. When you get like that, it’s best to trace back where you went wrong and start from there, get things right and get yourself back on track. This track really speaks to you. The track right after that is called “1000 Eyes”, which I found myself singing after only 2 listens which shocked me, because I didn’t even realize I was listening that intently until I did! This track is aimed at the lives of soldiers fighting all over the world who feel alone and want nothing more than to return to their families. This one, despite the fact that it doesn’t sound like a sad track, is definitely one that will have you shedding a few tears when you listen to it. I can go on and on with every track, but I’m not going to, I would like to leave some surprises for you guys on your listen!

Instrumentation: Instrumentally, “In It to Win It” feels more like a Saliva album than anything prior. Wayne Swinny, lead guitarist, kills it with his solos and driving riffs. Dave Novotny’s bass lines are groovy and give the album a nice foundation and then you’ve got drummer, Paul Crosby’s, animalistic drumming style that brings it all together. This album is certainly on another level of greatness, with a new chapter of Saliva’s career just beginning.

Overall: When I heard the lead single/title track from the album, I knew that I would love the album itself, however, I wasn’t aware of how diverse this album manages to get compared to other Saliva albums and that made me love it even more. Whether you love ballads, you’re looking for something to play loudly at parties or something to get the ladies shaking their asses, this album has it all. Don’t be a loser, go pick up your copy of “In It to Win It”, out today and see why Saliva will always have a place in Hard Rock history!

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