Review Summary: Those Who Hunt at Night is some nice classic metal comfort with just enough tweaks to keep from feeling tired
While Savage Master’s brand of classic metal has always had a catchy edge, it feels like their fourth album makes a more noticeable bid for accessibility. This is immediately established with “Hunt at Night;” in contrast to the band’s past openers opting for a hard-driving fast pace, this track has a more gradual beginning shaped by a more atmospheric synth patch and a pulsating mid-tempo bass line. “A Warrior’s Return” and “Queen Satan” are also slower standouts, putting in particularly percussive verses and a fun call-and-response chorus on the former.
The musicianship also feels a little more put together, seemingly working off the more polished production that came about with 2019’s Myth, Magic, and Steel. The vocals feel especially reined in with the lead vocals aiming for a more tuneful delivery while still maintaining a raw, untrained demeanor while the gang shouts and other layers often contributing their own melodicism. Thankfully it never feels too watered down or too far removed from their past works.
And with that, Those Who Hunt at Night is still largely defined by the band’s tried and true speed metal. “Eyes Behind the Stars” and “The Hangman’s Tree” are the sort of fast-paced anthems one would expect with speedy chugs, driving drums, and life-affirming choruses. As much as I find myself wishing “Rain of Tears” had stayed at the building pace of its introduction for just a little longer, it has some good momentum once it gets going. “The Death of Time” also makes for an interesting closer, channeling something like Manowar’s “Bridge of Death” with its more ominous theatrics.
Overall, Those Who Hunt at Night is some nice classic metal comfort with just enough tweaks to keep from feeling tired. There isn’t too much of a drastic overhaul as the cleaner aspects are subtle and work off the band’s pre-established strengths. It doesn’t quite the staple appeal of 2016’s With Whips and Chains or Myth, Magic, and Steel, but there are plenty of songs worthy of their live set. If anything, it’s affirmation of Savage Master’s status as one of the more consistent groups in their genre.