With the release of 2015’s Heresy and 2016’s acclaimed Choke, the members of Portland, OR-based post punk act Soft Kill, currently comprised of Tobias Grave (vocals/guitar/synths), Conrad Vollmer (guitar), Owen Glendower (bass) and Adam Bulgasem (drums) had spent a an increasing amount of time on the road; in fact, they have been on rather extensive touring cycle through North America and Europe to support Choke. Interestingly enough, the band announced a series Pacific Northwest tour dates with Harms Way, just as they officially dropped their latest album Savior.
Savior may be the most personal album the band has ever written and recorded, as much of the writing was inspired by a real life experience: as the band was returning from tour, Tobias Grave’s pregnant wife began to bleed out in the van. She was eight months pregnant, and practically in the middle of nowhere, far from a hospital or any other medical facility. The band raced through the night, eventually winding up in the emergency room of Sacramento’s UC Davis Trauma Center, where surgery was performed to try to save the lives of both the mother and the then-unborn child. Although the surgery went well, the baby’s lung collapsed on his second day of life causing him to flatline. Grave was forced to standby and watch as doctors and nurses struggled to keep his newborn son alive with a series of blood transfusions, breathing and feeding tubes. As his vigil turned into weeks, he purchased a guitar, borrowed a bass from a friend and began to write the material that wound up becoming Savior. Thematically speaking, the songs focused on loss and hurt — the tragic loss of his newborn son, his long battle with drug addiction, the tragedies and heartaches of life, the weirdly empty and ambivalent space between mourning and celebration, life and death that we all know far too well. In many ways, the album is written about a man, who has come to grips with the reflection of themselves, as seen in the eyes of their dying son — and as you’ll hear on the shimmering album single “Hard Candy,” the material manages to possess the palpable weight of devastating and senseless loss, and the acceptance of what it means to the song’s narrator and his life, making the song a gorgeous and mournful meditation on life and deat