Savage Master – Those Who Hunt at Night (Shadow Kingdom Records)Monday, 15th August 2022
From the deep south, occult heavy metal act Savage Master have always embraced mysterious imagery and stage personas against a very catchy brand of classic-infused, straightforward traditional approach throughout their history. Founded in 2013 by guitarist Adam Neal and vocalist Stacey Savage, they’ve released three albums to date, touring North America and Europe plus playing prestigious festivals like Keep It True, Frost and Fire, Hells Heroes, and Hell Over Hammaburg. This scribe has personally witnessed their spectacular stage show a couple of times at club shows over the years – so it’s always a treat to hear the latest set of material like album four with Those Who Hunt at Night.
Intertwining influences across the board from NWOBHM, speed metal, thrash, and occult rock artists, the band has a way for executing all the right parts, melodic/harmony accents, and energetic transitions that force people to stand at rapt attention for what comes next. Be it galloping, spider web-oriented guitar runs, thunderous bass/drum interplay that’s equally vicious yet maintains that mandatory pocket potency, or the naturally sinister presence of Stacey reigning over the top as complimentary background gang vocals fill in the dynamic contrasts – it’s all there and more for the nine main songs. Vintage 80’s synths placed in key spots give off that soundtrack vibe, while that driving mid-tempo guitar churn allows opener “Hunt at Night” to convey a “Heading Out to the Highway”/Judas Priest feel to get the record rollin’ out of the gate. At other points the speedier textures of Jag Panzer and Iron Maiden influences take command while the tantalizing cymbal/snare shifts bring “The Hangman’s Tree” as a standout, the instrumental sequence tailor made for audience clapping, shouting, or unison melodic singalong action. Stacey’s ability to often match the guitar parts beyond her obvious sadistic screams and lower to high range metal to the bones register keeps things interesting, engaging, and a bit on edge – which this genre should always strive to achieve. Check out her work on “Queen of Satan” plus the early 80’s marching-filled “Rain of Tears” that pulls pure authenticity out of each verse and chorus.
Those Who Hunt at Night keeps Savage Master at the top of their game – enveloping listeners into their brand of occult rock and heavy metal through a mix of solid anthems that aim to prove this style still have plenty of life left in the collective tank.