Savage - 1995 Holy Wars

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ARTIST: Savage
ALBUM: Holy Wars
LABEL: Neat
SERIAL: NM004
YEAR: 1995
CD REISSUE: 1996, Pony Canyon (Japan), PCCY-00891

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Chris Bradley - vocals, bass * Andy Dawson - guitars * Dave Lindley - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Headstrong * 02 Anthem * 03 How? * 04 This Means War * 05 Down 'n' Dangerous * 06 Suffer The Children * 07 Fashion By Force * 08 Twist * 09 Streets Of Fire * 10 Let The World Go Crazy * 11 Glory Boys * 12 Let It Loose '95

Background

Savage were originally another rough and ready early 80's NWOBHM act who admittedly jumped onto the scene quite late.

Their debut 'Loose 'n' Lethal' didn't appear until 1983 on the Ebony label, despite the group having formed in Mansfield some five years earlier.

It gathered much acclaim and many saw the band as the next big British hope. Tracks like 'Let It Loose' and 'The China Run' became minor classics, but 1985's 'Hyperactive' was a critical disappointment, even with gems like 'Stevie's Vengeance'.

Savage split like so many before them, never fulfilling their promise. It came as a surprise that they reformed a decade later, signing to traditional metal label Neat. Main duo Bradley and Dawson returned, without fellow originals Wayne Renshaw (guitar) and Mark Brown (drums).

'Holy Wars' saw Savage retain traces of their vintage metal sound while managing to avoid sounding dated and buckling to current trends.

The Songs

Opener 'Headstrong (Cult Of One)' provides a bracing example of a band sticking to an 80's ideal through common riffing and rebellious lyrics, but you can tell this is not 1985, and they are not caught in a timewarp. Much of the riffing is downtuned, but it's more melodic than most, giving it an edge.

'Anthem' is a life reaffirming ode, with an essential solo courtesy of Dawson, a real guitar dynamo.

'How?' sounds like the worst titled grunge nonsense and is a stop start affair, slow then fast, before settling into a frenzied instrumental section about two and half minutes in.

The core riff of 'This Means War' is evocative and recalls the best of the early 80's, a nice throwback.

Things get going as 'Down And Dangerous (Machine Gun)' blazes a furious trail with speed aplenty and a glut of chunky riffing, and even a lyrical mention to 'this here danger zone'.

'A slightly dodgy moment occurs with the overtly sentimental acoustic slush of 'Suffer The Children', an Extreme 'Hole Hearted' copy, and not a Napalm Death cover.

The opening tirade of 'Fashion By Force' is a direct rip off of Thin Lizzy's 'Thunder And Lightning' end riff, tribute or copy? The actual song is an aggressive touch of class.

The chanted chorus of 'Let The World Go Crazy' is a corny moment, delightfully so, but 'Glory Boys' never lives up to its well worn title.

A requisite remake of Savage's most well known cut 'Let It Loose' appears, with as much venom as the original, if without the charm.

In Summary

A better comeback than many other similar bands like Tank and Jaguar, Savage actually stayed around for two more releases, 1996's 'Babylon' (featuring new drummer Richard Kirk) and 2000's 'Xtreme Machine'.

Their current whereabouts are unknown, although in 2002 a best of set appeared, 'This Ain't No Fit Place - The Best Of Savage'.

The album consisted of mainly later Savage material, with five selections off 'Holy Wars', an album recommended if located.


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