Hailing from London, England, Savage Messiah have just unleashed their second album “Insurrection Rising.” Their debut “Spitting Venom” was released roughly two years ago, and it was an enjoyable enough product. However, even for the band themselves their full potential wasn’t yet realised with that disc. A lot has changed then, establishing a new line-up, a new record deal with Candlelight Records and acquiring a top class producer.
“Insurrection Rising” is produced by Chris Tsangarides, who is well known for his work on several different metal artists including Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen and Thin Lizzy. His name means quality on the sound end of things and “Insurrection Rising” is no exception. But we’ll get to that later. Let’s examine the most important factor first: the music.
From the opening title track until the closing “He Who Laughs Last” this record means business. Title song is a great opener, with definite Testament vibe of late, riffing is tight and it contains a long and effective guitar solo reminiscent of Judas Priest’s “Painkiller.” “Corruption X” follows and is well enough executed tune, but in between two absolutely great songs gets somewhat buried under.
Third track “In Absence Of Liberty” begins with smooth slow guitar picking, somewhat echoing Iron Maiden’s early work with Paul D’Anno. The song soon switches gear and introduces a huge guitar riff. In my opinion, this is the highlight of the record, a 6-minute number with different moods, tempos and scopes that perfectly alternate between heavier and more melodic moments. The solo section is impressive as well, beginning slowly like the songs itself it picks up speed and returns to heavy guitar riff. Classic stuff!
“Enemy Image (Dehumanization” enters with a fast paced riff and double bass drum work, think of Testament with a good dose of original touch in melodies and backing vocal lines and you will get the picture. The whole scope works nicely here.
“Silent Empire” is another personal favourite. Catchy melody combined with ripping guitar solos and great delivery from vocalist/guitarist Dave Silver. Take a notice how tempo slows down during the solo and then picks up after it with great melodic NWOBHM- echoing moment before returning to thrash riffs. Straight after this “The Nihilist Machine” also rams the point home with quick riffs and fast rhythms. The call to arms chorus “The Nihilist – Machine Is Here – Burn!” is guaranteed to keep the crowd rocking. Especially liked the lyric and the part “Institutions commence and the shackles remain.”
Like I said before, lining up some of the work from some of the classic metal and thrash bands gives one a good picture how “Insurrection Rising” stands up. Testament and maybe Megadeth were the most obvious reference points and I definitely picked up some vintage Iron Maiden and Priest circa “Painkiller” influence. But most importantly the sound has its own stamp, compared to Testament for example there is definitely more variety involved which is a great thing in this writer’s book.
Dave Silver’s vocals have a grunting edge but he does sing with melody which again helps in underscoring the different elements and moments within the songs. Improvement from “Spitting Venom” is obvious on all fronts. Guitar sound is heavy and massive, the drum work nothing flashy but support the core of the songs and same goes with Sascha Gron’s bass playing. Drums build an excellent backbone with plenty of double bass drum work to take the songs up to another level but then bring them back down to more straightforward base. Tsangarides has definitely succeeded in creating a good balance within the instruments, the record is also loud, no need to turn up to the max while listening to this one.
According to Dave Silver the band has made some serious improvement from their debut and want to cover a wide spectrum of sounds, while still remaining within the thrash genre. It is this variation which in my opinion makes this record interesting. For those who enjoy it, there are plenty of fast riffs and furious thrashing and for those – myself included – who also expect more subtle moments with different colours, get plenty of that too.
To sum it up; this is one of 2009’s most positive new efforts and you better keep a close eye on Savage Messiah in the future.
1. Insurrection Rising
2. Corruption X
3. In Absence Of Liberty
4. The Serpent Tongue Of Divinity
5. Vigil Of The Navigator
6. Enemy Image (Dehumanization)
7. Silent Empire
8. The Nihilist Machine
9. He Who Laughs Last