Savage Master – Myth, Magic & Steel (Shadow Kingdom Records)Sunday, 27th October 2019
Back in the 1980’s, traditional metal bands weren’t as afraid to captivate consumers with a strong visual/musical package to their style. It’s an aspect that resonates with US act Savage Master – especially if you’ve seen their promo shots or live performances where singer Stacey Peak reigns over her masked male musician henchmen, activating sadomasochism imagery to the next level. Fortunately for the consumer, the main songwriting for the band stacks up solid that the visual aspects enhance the output – which continues again for the group’s third studio full-length Myth, Magic & Steel.
Using a base of early US and NWOBHM influences from the late 70’s to late 80’s, the quintet straddle the lines of speed/thrash riffs at times while also injecting some classic doom into their normal metal affairs – harmony/ melodic guitar spurts, pumping bass, and straightforward tempos with spirited fills the order of the day for Savage Master. It’s why the band feel very comfortable assaulting your senses in an energetic fashion for “The Devil’s Ecstasy” and then returning the next song in a doomy/somber fashion for “The Owl” and succeeding on both fronts through conviction, haunting anticipation measure to measure along with the mesmerizing, dramatic Peak vocal delivery. The key for instant appeal lies in immediacy for the perfect guitar hook and driving it home through proper musical/vocal support – it’s hard not to elevate those fists and get the blood pumping when taking in mandatory headbangers like “Flyer in the Night” and the Iron Maiden meets Omen-esque “Lady of Steel”. Stacey much like Betsy from Bitch or Kate of Acid has this spitfire presence – metal to the bone with an edge to cut the aural proceedings like the sharpest blade in the land. The record closes with an epic for “Warrior vs Dragon” – the eight-minute plus arrangement starting off very reflective, featuring a tempo uptick midway through that allows Adam Neal and Larry Myers to showcase a bit of the twin guitar heroic dynamics at play and galvanize the earthrats and metal hordes before returning to an acoustic-oriented, thoughtful conclusion.
Myth, Magic & Steel allows Savage Master to capture their sound in pristine form – in your face and akin to what people should expect just at louder volumes when seeing or hearing the band live. Proof that the US metal scene still has vitality to carry the movement into the future.