SAVAGE MESSIAH was introduced to me late last year as one of those “Oh, man! You gotta hear this band!!” type of groups. So I went out and picked up 2012’s Plague of Conscience and I thought the marriage of classic thrash and speed, NWOBHM, and cleaner vocals was a very good one, so I was impressed. Singer/guitarist Dave Silver has a better range than a lot of the guys in this genre and I was into it. And now the boys are back with latest effort The Fateful Dark which features a heavy supply of tunes that rock, while navigating the tricky lane changes of metal classifications easily.
First thing I loved was the crisp, clear production. Ya know, with all the advances in recording technology today, there really is no reason for your band to sound like shit. Having said that, some albums still rise head and shoulders above the others (e.g. pretty much anything Piet Sielck puts his hands on!) and also survive the ultimate test…the Car Test. SAVAGE MESSIAH pass that one with flying colors. Right out of the gate “Iconocaust” and “Minority of One” come at you in a cocktail of thrash riffs mixed with melodic clean ones. Way to start the album off, gentlemen! After that we have “Cross of Babylon” which is more in the speed zone, especially on the hook, and then “Hellblazer” whose dual harmonized intro riff immediately snapped my neck in the direction of my monitor, making it an instant favorite.
Even when this band slows things down it’s no less hard-hitting, like on “Live as One Already Dead’. A ballad this ain’t and the solo absolutely rips, before Silver and guitarist Joff Bailey play us into another dueling lead break. The start of title track “The Fateful Dark” calls to mind shades of TESTAMENT, especially with the bottom end of bassist Stefano Selvatico and drummer Andrea Gorio. But the song quickly turns into something all their own. Still, it’s nice to hear elements of the thrash forefathers in there. The only song that I wasn’t that big on is “Zero Hour” just because at six minutes and change it’s overly repetitive.
It’s back to the balls-to-the-wall thrash for “Hammered Down” though. These kids can play their asses off with the best of them, no question. Silver gets to flex his high voice on “Scavengers of Mercy” and the chugging riffs only add to its greatness. I also liked the way the solo goes up and up in almost a step ladder fashion, leading us somewhere cool. This just might be my other favorite.
Official album closer “The Cursed Earth” has the traditional buildup found in some of the older mid-tempo thrash songs, and depending on which version of the record you own there are some bonus tracks. Mine has covers of “Be Quick Or Be Dead” from IRON MAIDEN, DIAMOND HEAD’S “Lightning to the Nations” and “Killers” from the masters of speed themselves, MOTORHEAD to round out what I think is one hell of a heavy metal album that is rooted in tradition while still sounding fresh. The Fateful Dark is available everywhere now via Earache Records. Highly recommend!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Hellblazer”, “Scavengers of Mercy”, “Hammered Down”, “Live as One Already Dead”, “Iconocaust”