Review Summary: Savage Messiah raise the bar with their second full-length release, and release it for free, while they're at it.
A heavy metal four-piece based out of London, Savage Messiah
has a bit of a reputation preceding it. Those familiar with the scene of heavy and thrash metal should be familiar with Savage Messiah, as their past efforts established them as quite the powerful contenders in their genre. As the fans are fond of saying, however, the past is the past - it's our music, and we want it now! So, with that in mind, how does Plague of Conscience
stack up to the likes of their first full-length"
Continuing in a trend of well-established structural technique, Savage Messiah's instrumental job aims high and hits its mark. More than meeting my expectations as a logical step up from Insurrection Rising
, the opening title track is mysterious, dark, and oozing technically-proficient guitar-work. There's no doubt that these guys know how to handle their share of frets, as each song often features more than one solo and very rarely do you hear an unimaginative or repetitive riff. The band also changes focus from riff to riff -- one moment, the guitars will be catching your ear, and the next moment will go to the vocals. It's something indicative of an intelligent mixing and immaculate song structure, both of which are a welcome sense in this day and age. The second track, "Six Feet Under the Gun", is a great indicator of what the rest of the album sounds like because it shows off Savage Messiah's songwriting abilities as well as their skills in making the instrumental job mesh seamlessly with the vocals.
Hey, I just mentioned vocals. Speaking of vocals, these will be what really tears up support for the band's sound. A lot of people don't really enjoy Dave Silver's vocal style, and with most of their complaints, I can see where these detractors are coming from. It does occasionally sound like Silver is holding back, and at times it's more like chanting than it is singing, which can be a little irritating for those of you who are looking for a heavier listen. I myself would prefer it if he went a little heavier across the board, but the vocals are, for the most part, really great when mixed with the instrumental work. It's an incredibly musical sound, and the best example of this is provably the better part of track four, "In Thought Alone". There is that meshing again, but the vocals really shine in this song. Perhaps it's just a well-produced track, but I really enjoyed all of the fourth song and was never bored. The drums are something I'm a little unsure of, because they compliment the mix very well, but lack any clear direction. Like a bass guitar following the rhythm's leading, the drums fit, and add well to the rest of the sound, but they don't really ever break away. I'm still not sure if that's a good or a bad one for the band's mix, but there's certainly a lack of creativity present in the drum tracks. I was much more impressed by the vocal range and the solos and riffs pulled off by the guitarists (one of whom does the vocals of the album as well).
Plague of Conscience
has plenty of great moments, few bad ones, and some really cool lyrical themes to boot - it deals with greed, hatred, oppression, corruption, and resistance. This album has great concepts, great execution, and a great amount of effort put into it. All in all, Savage Messiah hit a home run for their fans, and I really enjoyed the record. The lack of overt harshness in the vocals will be a turn-off for some of the thrash heads who are caught headbanging more often than not, but Plague of Conscience
is a stellar effort and well worth it in my book. Check it out.
1. "Plague of Conscience"
2. "Six Feet Under the Gun"
4. "In Thought Alone"
6. "All Seeing I"
10. "The Mask of Anarchy"