Demons” is the 5th studio album from British Metal act Savage Messiah and the second album they have released on Century Media. It is the follow up to 2017’s “Hands of Fate” and includes the single “Under No Illusion” which was released in March as a forerunner to the album. Since then the band have released videos to “Down and Out” in April and “The Bitter Truth” in May.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luEFnffCAjI&w=560&h=315]
When asked about the albums name, singer and guitarist Dave Silver describes a band reborn on the new record. “I looked at what we’ve done in the past and knew we could be taking this band way further.”
“The word ‘Demons’ encapsulate the story of the band,” Silver continues. “It’s about rising to the inevitable challenges that everyone faces in pursuit of any higher end goal. The album deals with attempting to conquer both the internal and external demons that perpetually arise and permanently threaten to derail and discourage.”
Taking the band further is exactly what Silver and his bandmates have done on this album too. They are without any doubt, growing, maturing and taking themselves both musically and with their song writing to new, more heralded places.
I wonder how much of that is down to the change of approach the band had with the writing of this album. They bravely went into the studio without any songs to record and just some catalogued, unfinished ideas. If this is the result of that change then they have certainly hit on a winning formula as they have produced 11 high quality tracks that just leave you wanting to listen over and over again.
Maybe it is because Silver become a father in 2017, which he says has changed his perspective on life and admits it has enabled him to throw himself into lyrics like he never has before. Or maybe the change of producer has made a difference, as on this album, they employed the services of David Castillo, who has worked with Opeth, Dimmu Borgir and Soilwork, rather than long time collaborator Scott Atkins, who was at the helm for the first four albums.
I honestly don’t know what has helped them release such a fine slab of music, whether it is one of the things above or a combination of them all, but whatever it is, it has resulted in an album, no, an audio assault that just kept me wanting more and more.
First track up is “Virtue Signal”, which hits you straight between the ears from the opening drum and guitar onslaught. It is a really heavy opening number, with it’s fast, thrashy approach and a bludgeoning riff that just sets the song and the whole album up. You can just imagine how mental the mosh pit will be when and if the band include this track in their live set. Next up is “What Dreams May Come” and straight away we get a drop in tempo. The song has some tantalisingly delicate guitar parts and mesmerising solo’s as the band slip straight into melodic power metal mode. The melody in David Silver’s vocals are clearly evident as is the unity in the rhythm section as they supply a real foot tapping beat to the track.
“Heretic in the Modern World” with it’s chunky, chugging riff picks the pace straight back up again. Throughout the track the band switch from that catchy, heavy riff to a smooth, melodic, harmonious chorus with great ease and when you also add in the hugely impressive guitar solo you get another sublime four minutes that will make for a killer part of their live show. “Parachute” follows, a cover version of a track written by Grammy Award winning American Country / Folk singer Chris Stapleton. This is different, but I really like it! It is definitely radio friendly and if it gets the airplay it deserves it should hopefully bring a whole new audience to the band. Built around the bands solid rhythm section and some more great guitar work, the song allows Silver to show us a much more melodic and harmonious approach to his vocal work and you really get to see a different side to the band as a whole.
If you think the band are going ‘soft’, then “Under No Illusion” puts those thoughts straight to bed as it comes bursting out of the speakers with a spitting, snarling riff that smacks you straight in the face! Blend that in with another melodic, catchy chorus and some great hooks and a section that is just built for a crowd sing-a-long and I think this track will be a live favourite for years to come.
“Down and Out” is all about some serious riffage and mesmerising guitar work. Add into that a solid drumbeat and you get a track that can’t do anything but get your foot tapping and head nodding. This leads us into “The Lights Are Going Out”, another drop down in pace and a dip
into the world of power metal balladry. Starting off with some delicate, intricate guitar work the track flows between these slower more melodic parts into some really powerful metal and then back again. This gives David Silver a chance to show us yet another side to his vocal prowess that is becoming all the more evident as the band develop.
“The Bitter Truth” doesn’t just pick the pace back up, it comes whirling at you like an F1 car leaving the grid at the start of a race. It is fast, it is frantic and it has an amazing thrashy riff with a wonderfully catchy chorus. Combine that with the superbly speedy guitar solo and you have a monstrous track that will have even the most hardened of mosh pits going berserk! The radio friendly “Until the Shadows Fall” follows. This is a fine slab of power metal with a really catchy chorus that sees the band take the tempo of the album down again. The change in pace from one song to the next as the album goes on is clearly evident and I think works really well as they showcase all the different facets each band member possesses. I have listened to this track many times this week and every time I imagine it being played on You Tube with an accompanying atmospheric arty type video that will gain thousands of hits from old and new fans alike.
The penultimate track is “Rise Then Fall”, a short, sharp number that just stands there and smacks you in the face over and over again with it’s immense riff that follows the fierce drum intro. This track is all about the guitars, the fast, breathtaking, shredding guitars. I would envisage that there will be many a seasoned air guitarist crying with envy as they try and get their fingers moving that quickly after listening to the guitar parts on this track! “Steal the Faith in Me”, brings the album to a close. It starts off with a real crunching riff that leads us into a majestic two paced track that is melodic in places and heavy in others before finishing with a minute or so instrumental section that pounds away at your sonic senses and gives you one final chance to fully appreciate the talented musicians that have created this album with David Silver. It is a magnificent end to a breathtaking album that really encapsulates how Silver and Savage Messiah are evolving as a band.
What the band have given us with “Demons” is an album that encompasses a number of metal genres as there are definite elements of traditional Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal and a few nods towards Power Metal as well. It is full of huge riffs, big solo’s, massively powerful drums and metal vocals sung with great melody. The songs are heavy, thrashy,
powerful, sharp and full of melody and hooks. I have played this over and over again this week and it really does hit all the right buttons!
“Demons” is an album that won’t alienate the strong and trusted fanbase that Savage Messiah have built up with the previous four albums since their inception in 2007 but should definitely bring them in some new fans with the slight change of direction and sound on some of the tracks.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-I1cL7K6iw&w=560&h=315]
I have listened to and lived with this album for a week now and I really love it. There is something on there for every mood and moment in your day, which I think makes it a top quality album that you can keep going back to over and over again and should see the band take the next step up the ladder in their blossoming career.
Well that is that then, 45 minutes and 11 songs of quality heavy, thrashy metal with a bit of Power metal thrown in and all I can say is what a superb 45 minutes and 11 songs it is. Do yourself a favour, go and buy this album and get yourselves some Savage Messiah in your music collection, I don’t think you will be disappointed!
Savage Messiah are :-
Dave Silver – Vocals and Guitar
Mira Slama – Bass
David Pear – Guitars and Backing Vocals
Charly Carreton – Drums and Percussion
Demons was released on Century Media on 17th May 2019
1. Virtue Signal
2. What Dreams May Come
3. Heretic In The Modern World
5. Under No Illusion
6. Down and Out
7. The Lights Are Going Out
8. The Bitter Truth
9. Until The Shadows Fall
10. Rise Then Fall
11. Steal The Faith In Me,
Catch Savage Messiah on tour in June when they support Symphony X. They play Coventry Empire on the 4th, Holmfirth Picturedome on the 5th and London Electric Ballroom on the 6th.
Review by Darren Smith for metalplanetmusic