Savage | ‘Sons of Malice’
Savage are one of those bands that occupy a walk on part in the greater history of heavy metal.
They’re not famous in and of themselves – but it can be credibly argued they’ve had a shaping influence.
In the case of these early 80′s British pioneers it was on a young and spotty Metallica, who covered their excellent ‘Let It Loose’. Even now – in fact, especially now – the sounds of the rabid young Hetfield, Mustaine, Ulrich and McGovney going hell for leather over it attest to its quality as a ripping piece of NOWBHM.
One doesn’t want to dwell on this, though, given that the band actually still have a lot to offer. You would’nt think it from the rather drab cover art, but Savage have crafted a really, really listenable album in here of hard rock and NWOBHM-tinged standards.
The influence of Dio era Vivian Campbell is everywhere. The opening janks of the title track sound like ‘Stand Up And Shout’ slowed down to a blues pace, while ‘Black N Blue’ has more of that dirty Strat tone.
The rhythym guitar on here is a total joy. Bluesy black, sitting somewhere between metal and hard rock, effortlessly controlled and the product of obvious years on the gigging circuit. You dont get to hold it down like this without some serious stage time.
There are bits of Whitesnake in here as well, from the harder 80′s rather than 70′s end of things. Both vocally and musically the nods to them are sometimes pretty overt.
More guitar greats abound in the list of influences. The chops of Ex-Toto mastermind Steve Lukather can be plainly heard in ‘The Hanging Tree’. All of the above are fantastic for never once descending into showy solos and boring licks – this whole thing is about the rhythm.
Ok, so it’s like a comfy pair of slippers. Nothing on here is going to blow your mind, no wheels are being re-engineered, and it never really moves out of mid pace.
And to be fair, ‘Junkyard Dog’ drags around not unlike some slovenly hound, with cringing nursery rhyme lyrics. Oh, and ‘Waking The Dead’ tea-leafs a bit from Maiden’s ‘The Clairvoyant’ in its main riff. So it’s not all creative genius.
As a reliable, stalwart hard rock / heavy metal record though it’s moreish, uncomplicated and well delivered. Better than well delivered, in fact: for a genre that’s usually underwhelming, this cd is highly enjoyable within its own constraints.
Which, given that they were good enough for Metallica to cover 30 years ago, is pretty fair enough in my book.
3.6 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 23/07/12