Savage Master mix ferocity with classic metal riffs and carnage on killer ‘With Whips and Chains’

Photo by Hayley Fawn Hall

Photo by Hayley Fawn Hall

We’ve learned over and over again never to judge a book by its cover or a band by its appearance, but really, sometimes you kind of can. Like, OK, over the weekend I was in a grocery store, and I saw a romance book series called “Amish Millionaire.” I’m pretty sure the decision I made over that book will hold true if I decided the read the thing.

Sometimes you can look at a band and the image they portray and get a good idea of what they’re about before you ever put on a note of their music. That can lead to both good and bad pre-judgements, but hell, many times those thoughts end up being accurate. For example, the first time I ever heard of Savage Master was from a friend of mine who recommended them and sent me right to their Facebook page. Right away I saw this troupe dressed a masked executioners fronted by this woman who looked like she climbed from the scenes of a “Mad Max” movie, and I instantly was on board. Next step was to take on their 2014 debut record “Mask of the Devil” (their images was adopted from the 1960s cult film “Black Sunday”) and I was totally hooked. This band throws vintage metal fire out there like it’s the middle of the 1980s, but they have a modernity to them as well that grounds them in the present. They’re just a bad ass, really fun band that’s just begging for more ears.

Savage Master coverThey should get just that with their crushing second record “With Whips and Chains,” coming to you via the always reliable High Roller Records. The cover alone is a feast for the mind, but once you crash into these 10 tracks, you know you’re on a bonafide heavy metal adventure full of blood, violence, evil, and nasty intent. Out front of these shadowy figures is Stacey Savage, whose voice puts her in absolute command of this band. Plus, she looks like she could kick your ass. I’m kind of afraid of her. Along with her are comrades in darkness Adam Neal (guitars), Larry Myers (guitars), Brandon “BB Gunz” Brown (bass), and Zach Harris (drums), who also bring their own brand of intimidation, as well as their knack for keeping things heavy, ruling, and totally on fire. Seriously, this band is fun as fuck.

“Call of the Master” is sort of an introductory cut, with fires crackling, chants summoning the dark lord emanating, and the first hints of menace spilling in toward “Dark Light of the Moon.” There, guitars charge up, with some meaty riffs tearing into the flesh, and Savage howling, “Every room is like a living tomb!” to ensure you know of the horror that awaits. Soloing explodes, and the band sends you on the speed-ripping turn toward the end of the track and right into killer “With Whips and Chains.” The song has more torture, more evil, and a gang-shouted chorus that’s infectious and blistering, with the lead guitars once again taking charge and the rhythm section doing to heavy hitting. “Death of the Necromancer” has a Judas Priest feel to it musically, with Savage at full command vocally, and twin leads making this song so ridiculously metal you can’t help but pump your fists. “Vengeance Is Steel” rips along, with the band taking their assault to the battlefield and, once again, the chorus injecting you with power. The guitars duel and blaze, while Savage shouts, “The pain that you feel, you know that it’s real!”

“Looking for a Sacrifice” feels like one where Savage has her boot right on your throat, and she wails in your face, leaving you fearing for your life. The riffs are strong, the chorus is simple and effective, and there’s even a bit of a bluesy swagger going on underneath it all. “Satan’s Crown” sounds like it pays homage to another NWOBHM titan in Iron Maiden, with the tempo at full gallop, and Savage delivering raspy, penetrating calls. The band shouts away on the chorus, as the track rollicks and bleeds everywhere. “Burned at the Stake” starts with flames licking and shrieks off in the distance, with the band dialing into searing melodies and massive carnage. “My life for his sake,” Savage shouts, with the rest of band providing a raucous conclusion. “Black Hooves” brings in more hefty riffs, with Savage standing above the fray, unveiling wild shrieks over the chaos, and a thrashier, meaner attitude being unleashed. Closer “Ready to Sin” is smashing from the start, with the band launching into attack mode and the track sounding more like a war anthem. Savage gets in her final shots, as the band surrounds her with soloing that sounds conjured by dark forces and a rumbling energy that lasts all the way until this smothering slab’s final moments.

Savage Master serve the metal gods old and new quite well on ‘With Whips and Chains,” a slab of true heavy metal that should have your cauldrons burning at home. Yeah, they have an outrageous image, but damn it if they don’t measure up in every way possible. They look like a hoard coming to rip apart your town, and their music is their most powerful weapon of all. Run and take cover before Savage Master lop off your puny head.

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