Scrawl from The Saw’s Butcher Shop: The 5 Albums That Made The Saw

Photo by Kevin La Chiana

What’s going on, Butcher Crew?! You already know who it is — it’s your Master Butcher, The Saw! Today, I wanted to share with you some albums that helped me become the person I am today. We all know I’m known for playing the HEAVIEST metal on the planet, but what albums formed my personality? I will be sharing some albums that have impacted me at an early age and a recent album that I’ve grown to love.

Good thing I’ve tightened your restraints, Butcher Crew! You don’t wanna miss this.

KoRn — KoRn (1994)

I have been listening to this album since I was a little baby Saw. My mom would play this album all the time while she danced around and headbanged. She also told me stories about how she traveled up and down the East Coast to see KoRn, Pantera, and White Zombie.

As I got older, I often found myself coming back to this album. It was heavy but also emotional. And we both know how much I love albums that have real, raw emotions. You can practically hear the pain and anger in Jonathan’s voice in almost every song. The stories he’s referencing are dark and true for him. I think this is where I found my love for diving into the lyrics of a song and having a special spot for concept albums.

Alice In Chains — Dirt (1992)

Like KoRn, Alice In Chains is another band I remember my mom playing a lot while growing up. I got my love for Layne Staley from my mom. She has always loved his voice and always said he sang like a wounded angel. I remember how we used to sit in the living room and either dance around, sing along, or just sit and listen to some of the songs off of Dirt.

One of the memories that sticks out to me is the song, “Rooster.” My mom used to have a Ford Ranger, and there used to be some old barn houses that were painted, down the road from our house. We would drive by the chicken field and these barns almost every day. One time, Rooster was playing on the radio, and my mom and I sang this song with all of the windows down. It’s a cool memory I will never forget.

Today, I listen to this album all the time. Like KoRn, I love the emotions on this record. It was real and raw — just the way I like it. Staley had a beautiful voice and could always make me feel happy, even when he was singing about something sad.

 Although the experiences in both Dirt and KoRn are things I’ve personally never been through, I can empathize with both vocalists. It gives you a sense that you’re not alone — no matter what you’re going through. You have a feeling that your struggles matter and that someone hears you. I think that’s why many people are fans of these two albums.

Obituary — Cause of Death (1990)

Did you think Obituary wouldn’t be on my list? C’mon now, it’s Obituary!! The KINGS of groovy death metal. I can thank my dad, the O.G. metalhead, for turning me on to this band. My dad’s alarm clock used to be an Obituary song, and all you would hear was John Tardy’s agonizing growls. It was awesome!! I remember when I first heard Obituary; I was a little girl, and my dad was sitting at the dinner table working on something, and I heard Tardy’s vocals. I went up to him and said, “this is scary.” Oh, how times have changed!

Cause of Death is a masterpiece, in my opinion. It has a combination of grooves thanks to Trevor Peres — the master of killer rhythm, and solos from the one and only James Murphy. His style may be noticeable to you because he was also on Death’s Spiritual Healing album — another one of my favorites! Cause of Death is Obituary’s second album, and it really shows how the band was maturing, even though they were teenagers when they recorded it.

This album got me into groovy death metal, and we all know that this type of death metal is my cup of mountain dew. I know the phrase is “cup of tea,” but I don’t like tea (take away my southern card, I don’t care). Nevertheless, it’s an album I can listen to repeatedly because each song flows seamlessly into the next. Not to mention, Tardy’s vocals are insane and don’t even get me started on the album cover. Did you know that the cover for Cause of Death was supposed to be the album cover for Sepultura’s 1989 album Beneath the Remains? That’s a story for another time, but I had to share this fact.

Miss May I — Apologies Are For The Weak (2009)

I first heard Miss May I through my brother. He was a big metalhead when I was growing up. For years, he played the drums (he was really good), and he was a roadie for my cousin’s band, Seventh Denial. I remember he used to play Miss May I songs on the drums all the time. This is probably my first memory of the band. Then, my cousin (who is also a drummer) showed me the music video of Relentless Chaos, and I was immediately hooked.

I was probably 12 when I began listening to MMI, and they are the band that got me into heavier metal. I was all about some metalcore at that age and through high school. But it had to be 2008 metalcore. I remember listening to “Apologies Are For The Weak” ALL.THE.TIME. I still find myself going back to this album today. It’s so heavy — the riffs, the vocals, everything. And to make it even better, they have beautiful clean vocals and compliment the music perfectly. After hearing Levi Benton’s low growls, I was itching for something heavier. That’s when I found deathcore (and then slam). So, although I knew of Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under, and Obituary since I was little, it wasn’t until I began listening to Miss May I that I got involved in the metal community and made metal a part of my identity.

The first show I went to by myself, when I was 16, was Warped Tour in 2015. I went there solely to see Miss May I. I met the band and even got a picture with the man himself. They are all such nice guys, and it made me love the band (and metal) even more.

Boundaries — Your Receding Warmth (2020)

So, this album is relatively new, but I think it shows how I’ve matured and evolved over the years. Do I primarily listen to death metal now? Yes. But do I still have a soft spot for metalcore? Also, yes. But I’m picky about my metalcore now because I’m not a huge fan of how the genre has evolved. But this album has everything I love about metalcore — harmony, panic chords, and chunky/choppy riffs. This album touches on many meaningful and emotional topics, and we all know how much I love concept albums.

I’ve been asked why I always mention this album and always listen to it. And to be honest, I don’t really have an answer to that question. This album just spoke to me and connected with me on a deeper level, and I haven’t attempted to analyze why that is. It feels as though my connection to this album is innate. As soon as I heard it, I immediately fell in love with it. I don’t think you come across albums like that often. 

If you’ve gotten this far, thank you for reading. This is only one side of the blade that makes The Saw who she is today. Until next time.

Stay Metal,