With a name like Savage Messiah these guys couldn’t be anything other than a kick ass metal band. The long hair, beards and endless flood of spine crunching riffs merely confirm your suspicions. Savage Messiah exist to give you the loudest, fastest, hardest, most whiskey drenched metal experience of your life. Nothing more. Nothing less.
2017’s Hands Of Fate was undoubtedly one of the best metal releases that year. So, expectations from fans and music critics alike were high with the announcement of a new record. Through that album the band had begun to really develop and diversify their sound, and the results were staggering. One of the worst things a band can do is stagnate, but probably the second worst thing they can do is alienate their fanbase. It’s a fine line. But it’s a boundary that the London based quartet are determined to push.
Demons might be many things, but it certainly isn’t dull. The band pull on every influence and every inspiration going to crunch out what amounts to a heavy metal pick n mix of a record. Variety is the spice of life after all, right?
Opening salvo ‘Virtue Signal’ is nothing short of erm… savage. One of the strengths of this album is the band’s willingness to stretch themselves stylistically. But here they take the approach that if isn’t broke then don’t fix it. There is no introduction as a cascade of classic Thrash metal riffs and hammering double time drums beat you to within an inch of your life. A soaring chorus and towering guitar solo follow in stunning style, and the tone has been well and truly set. The band made their name with tracks like this and it’s an ability that they clearly haven’t let fade.
'What Dreams May Come and Parachute' on the other hand see the band branching out into more mainstream territory. However, it doesn’t feel like the cash grab it might appear to be on the surface. Yes, the sound of these tracks is unquestionably more commercial, but they still have their heavy moments, and more importantly still sound like Savage Messiah. Then on tracks like 'Under No Illusions' and 'The Lights Are Going Out' the band lean into what you’d call classic metal.
One of the things that really helps Demons stand out is its short length. The effect of this is the whole thing feels conscience and compact. Each song deserves its place on merit and brings something to the table. From the System Of A Down tinged riff that opens ‘Down And Out’ to the anthemic chorus which carries ‘Until The Shadows Fall’ to the sheer Thrash metal brutality of ‘The Bitter Truth’ and ‘Rise Then Fall.’ Every track is a meaningful and necessary piece to the jigsaw.
There are highlights a plenty but the force of nature that is ‘The Bitter Truth’ might just steal the show. This is the band at the top of their game, and all of their strengths come to the fore. The vocals are flawless, the drums concussive and the guitar solo is nigh on untouchable. The only cautionary point of note is that Demons needs a little time to work its way into your system. Maybe the highs aren’t as high as previous albums but the whole project is more consistent and more varied. ‘Parachute’ and ‘The Bitter Truth’ are stylistically miles apart but they are both seriously impressive.
Demons is undoubtedly a step forward for the band. Yes, it’s more melodic, and in a couple of places a little more commercial, but that only serves to make it a more complete record. Not only will the band throw you around and give you the night of your life, they’re now also equipped to give you a cuddle afterwards. And let’s face it, everyone loves a cuddle.