PICK OF THE WEEK: Savage Master conjure hellacious metal fires with killer ‘Myth, Magic & Steel’

Photo by Rachel Autumn Deering

Heavy metal’s foundations are built on myths, legends, demons, wizards, and all kinds of fantastical creatures. Just look at the covers of any collection of metal albums in your local record shop, and you’re going to see some crazy shit that took some creative jumps to dream up in the first place. It’s part of what makes metal lore so exciting.

Following in the path blazed by bands including Iron Maiden, Dio, Warlock, Judas Priest and so many others come Savage Master, who not only pay homage to classic sounds but also make their own mark in metallic glory. Proof of that is on their third full-length “Myth, Magic & Steel,” their first for Shadow Kingdom and one hell of a blast of vintage glory in a modern world. This record is a nine-track, 40-minute blast that’ll make hearts soar of anyone who has followed metal’s story the past five decades or so, and it brings back to the forefront the foundation mentioned in the opener, where strange creatures and occult forces burst from the seams. That not only make this record something that trickles with true metal blood but also provides one hell of a good time. The band—vocalist Stacey Savage and her hooded menaces guitarists Adam Neal and Larry Myers, drummer John Littlejohn—delivers over and over again as evil is afoot and magical forces are ready to capture your soul.

The title track gets things started with a killer riff driving the excitement and Savage’s direct shouts spreading blood over the verses. The chorus is a killer with the whole band howling, “A world of fantasy revealed!” along with Savage, making it meatier and even catchier, and later on, the soloing lights your flash on fire before the track ends with Savage screaming, “Myth, magic, and steel!” “The Devil’s Ecstasy” has rambling riffs that smoke during the verses, with Savage again in command, especially on the chorus where she keeps things simple but effective. Later she commands, “So come take my hand, the ways of the witch, sign it in blood, 666,” before guitars again catch fire and race toward the finish. “The Owl” has ominous tones as it begins, as the tale slowly unfurls and also leaves some bruising. “I see hell fire burning even higher,” Savage calls on the chorus, as the soloing takes off and rules, and the band returns to the refrain before punching out. “Flyer in the Night” has guitars charging up, verses that pelt your chest, and yet another sticky chorus that sticks inside your head. Soloing takes control, leading into the night with torches, before Savage ends with, “Soon I’ll meet the gallows and I’ll part forevermore, becoming one with my source.”

“Crystal Gazer” starts chugging and landing blows, with Savage asking, “Do you hear a voice calling from the other side?” The vocals are a little gritter here while the leads melt faces, and the track slowly bleeds away. “Lady of Steel” is a blast, one they performed at Metal Immortal Festival over the summer in Pittsburgh, and it features three verses, one taken by Savage, one by Deborah Levine from Lady Beast, and one by Sandy Kruger of Sacred Few (at least I’m assuming that’s who is singing here). It’s a tremendous cut that gets your blood surging as these three awesome vocalists show their absolute grip over metal’s forces. “High Priestess” is more slow driving at first, working its way through the verses, with gang vocals over the chorus as Savage wails, “Daughter of the moon,” and later, “Risen from the tomb.” It’s eerie and punishing and perfect for this time of year. “Far Beyond the Grave” has a killer riff that surges, and their love for 1980s metal is smeared all over this thing, in a great way. The soloing even takes a different turn, sounding like its phrasing the story musically before the track ends in a pile of ash. Epic closer “Warrior vs. Dragon” runs a healthy 8:24, and it tells the story of a hunter tracking down its fire-breathing prey. The first half of the song is calculated, as Savage vows, “In death you know you will be set free, Dragon, let the wind carry you home.” Soloing spreads its wings, then suddenly, the gas pedal is pounded, and the track goes into overdrive. Savage’s vocals come harder and faster, setting up the dragon’s demise before the song blends into somber acoustics and a strange trippy cloud that carries the poor beast home.

Savage Master’s reign has been a glorious one as they have retraced what brought metal to where it is today and have decided to add more chapters in their own unique voice. “Myth, Magic & Steel” is a fiery, catchy record that is packed with songs you can’t help but yell back live, with fists fully pumping. This band lives devoid of trend or tastemaker expectation and instead smash full speed ahead through the boundaries, holding heavy metal’s banners aloft with power.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/savagemasterofficial/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/pre-orders.asp

For more on the label, go here: https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com