With a history going back to 1979 – which, as any self-respecting metalhead knows, was the year that the musical movement known as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWoBHM) came into being – it appears that East Midlands quartet Savage have only released five albums before this one, the very metal-sounding Sons of Malice. But you wouldn’t know it, as the album is as modern-sounding and brimming with today’s social issues as any high-profile trad heavy metal album from the last few years you care to name.
Opening with the charging ‘The Rage Within’, the album lets you know where it came from, its main riff evocative of many of the hard rocking tunes of the NWoBHM era, only this time there is a solid enough production to back it up. The charged stomp of the title track brings the song writing up-to-date with some vitriol about the recent bank workers putting us all into recession, echoing the sentiments of us all, and lets loose with some scorching leads and a huge main riff that recalls Motörhead at their authority-bashing best.
Singer/bassist Chris Bradley’s unobtrusive vocals perfectly underscore the massive riffs that guitarists Andy Dawson and Kristian ‘son of Chris’ Bradley throw around all over the place, like on the rollicking ‘Monkey on My Back’ which is probably the standout track. With an overall sound tighter than Biff Byford’s spandex trousers, Sons of Malice is a welcome, if ever-so slightly over-long reminder of a bygone era that doesn’t sound old or out-of-date, and whilst Savage may not have the high profile or obvious influence that the likes of Iron Maiden, Saxon, Venom and Diamond Head have had on the metal world during the last thirty years, they are just as relevant and, based on this album, sounding fresher and more energised than most of their contemporaries.
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