Saffire – For the Greater Good (Redux) (Rock of Angels Records)

Friday, 23rd February 2024
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Swedish band Saffire are a melodic metal outfit with classic hard rock leanings – active since 2005 and one of those acts that released their first demo during the Myspace era. They’ve been on four different labels over the course of their four-album history – with current label Rock of Angels Records greenlighting a reissue of this second album For the Greater Good. Originally released in 2015 on AOR Heaven, the band felt a remix could give these songs a bit of a ‘facelift’ to touch up some of the production flaws that may not have stood up well this many years later. Those of you who love solid performances in a Scandinavian context where the songwriting shines will delight in these eleven tracks – as aspects from old Europe and Rainbow to a more streamlined Masterplan come to mind when you take in the material.

The versatile, bluesy-based vocal melodies coupled with significant organ strains give the other players ample opportunity to weave a lot of tasty riffs, fills, and interplay movements that never overstep the main idea delivery. Most will be impressed by the clear, commanding vibes Tobias Jansson puts across in his singing – check out the emotional mid-range to soaring, Rainbow-esque highs throughout “Heartless”, or the soothing harmony engagement in the reflective “As Promises Burn” for two specific markers to his powerful control. The keyboards and guitars sculpt the sound for the band in a 70’s meets 80s/90’s mishmash – racing off the highway in a Firewind/Dio-esque manner for “The Great Escape”, while getting into a heavier, groove-like angle during “Ghost Town”. The hooks come quick, each song containing interesting minor details that build momentum into bigger chorus payoffs – “Dandelion’s Shame” an AOR-like delight in that regard, guitarist Victor Olsson peeling off a decent array of comfortable hero leads next to a quick hitting keyboard solo from Dino Zuzic.

Nine years later, For the Greater Good stands tall as a killer record for those who love melodic heavy metal with that Rainbow touch. Saffire is an unsung group that deserves a bit more praise for being strong musicians, adept at creating catchy material that contains the right balance of musicianship-enhanced passages beyond proper hooks that seep into your brain for months on end.

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