Savage – 7/Live N Lethal (Minus 2 Zebra)

Tuesday, 5th January 2016
Rating: 8/10

You see Saxon live, and listen to their 850 studio albums, and it makes sense…a lot of the NWOBHM follow the same playbook. One has to wonder if these lads call each other before recording an album to make sure they’re not swiping each other’s riffs, for there’s little to the imagination to a lot of ‘em, but man, they sure work. And Savage knows how to work it, or work them, for lack of a better term. Best known for Metallica covering their “Let it Loose” song on the Hit the Lights demo, the Brits have mucked it about for the last 20 years, post-reformation style, with 7/Live N Lethal a combination of the band’s latest studio album, 7, and a live album.

As indicated above, if Biff Byford and the boys have crossed your turntable/CD player/computer/whatever of late, then it’s easy to get a hold of what Savage are doing. Essentially, they plop down a minor-key riff with melodic flair, punch in a few transitions, and there’s the song. It’s formulaic, without question, but the burning, churning “Lock n Load” has plenty of pop; same goes for the menacing, blues-soaked “Children of the Night.”

Metal as straight-up and uncomplicated as this rarely yields the type of rewards stumbled upon the rag-tag “Super Spy” or blazing “Speed Freak,” neither of which are going to tip the intellectual lyrical scales, but who cares. Tacked onto 7 is a full live album in the form of Live N Lethal, which captures the various Savage cuts that have come down the pike over the years, including several of their early, seminal jams like “Dirty Money,” “Cry Wolf,” and of course, “Let it Loose.” Almost a pity they’re more recognized for a dingy little Metallica cover than their own material, but the old guard spitfire of 7 is undeniable.

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