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Savage Master - With Whips and Chains
Written by Eastcoaster   
Saturday, 07 May 2016

Savage Master - CD Review
With Whips and Chains


Savage Master - With Whips and Chains

 

CD Info
2016
High Roller Records
10 Tracks
English Lyrics

The Occult Heavy Metal Band, Savage Master, from Louisville, Kentucky, is set to release their second full length CD titled With Whips and Chains. Sometimes, the second album may be difficult for bands, but that is not the case here. In a way, With Whips and Chains, is both an extension musically from their first album, while also exploring new material. Be prepared to take a trip back to pure, raw, heavy metal from an earlier era. The fact that this album was produced “old school” with analog recording and dynamic mastering only enhances the effect for listeners. Make no mistake, the musicians are very good and perform with an abundance of energy. The vocalist has an excellent voice, which is showcased throughout the album.

This band started in October, 2013 when the guitarist Adam Neal and vocalist Stacey “Savage” Peak teamed together. Besides starting the band, the two of them are also responsible for writing the songs. Both of them credit their musical influence to two main bands as stated by Stacey: “We both love Acid (from Belgium) and Bitch! Adam definitely had Acid on the brain while formulating musical ideas. While I believe that my performance and writing is effected by an amalgam of what I listen to, I was not specifically focusing on Acid or Bitch in my personal process.” In addition, Larry Meyer (guitarist), Brandon “BB Gunz” Brown (bassist), and the newest member Zach Harris (drummer) complete the band. The 1960s movie “Black Sunday” has inspired the band to create their on-stage persona, where the band members wear hoods and are under the control of Stacey throughout the performance.

Savage Master has one additional full length CD to their credit, Mask of the Devil, released in 2014 through Skol Records. They also released through High Roller Records, which is releasing the new CD, an EP on vinyl called Black Hooves (2015). Concerning High Roller Records, Stacey has the following comment: “We are very happy for High Roller Records to release, With Whips And Chains, because we want all of our fans around the world to have access to our record and we feel that High Roller Records will provide broader distribution of our album.” It should be noted that the artwork for Black Hooves and With Whips and Chains was provided by Chris Moyen (Blasphemy, Beherit). The band has performed numerous shows for Mask of the Devil in the United States and Canada, including “Ragnarokk” in Chicago, “Wings of Metal” in Montreal, and “Frost and Fire Fest” in Ventura, California. They plan to play at the following events in support of their new album, which include “Keep it True Festival” in Germany and then additional shows in Germany, Holland, Austria, and Switzerland. Later, they will be touring in the United States as well.

This album begins with what could be from an old Hammer Horror Film, a call by Stacey to Satan. We have his response and the wild ride begins. One hears a soft light melody under her call, which then leads to the kick in by the drums. The guitars take over that melody making it much louder and stronger. This keeps building until the end.

The first song with vocals is “Dark Light of the Moon,” which is a true original metal song. It opens with a driving guitar rhythm played over a typical drum pattern. The vocalist is challenged in this song, with some leaps within the melody, testing her overall range. She passes this test with ease. In the second verse, there is a guitar solo that runs as a countermelody. Later the guitar takes over the melody, and then both guitarists play a short solo based on the melody. The song ends with the howling of a wolf.

“With Whips and Chains,” which is also the name of the album, the band brings us a throwback to the early metal sound. A heavy guitar sound opens the song. The other guitar and drum enter with some offbeat rhythms before the traditional metal guitar rhythm takes over. The drum keeps a steady beat throughout the song. This song features the band members chanting the title of the song with Stacey providing the response during the chorus. There are some nice guitar hooks and riffs before the bass takes over the song. The bass and vocal parts together add a very good touch to the song before the rest of the band enters to finish out the song.

The song, “Path of the Necromancer,” is well written with the instrumentalist showing off their skills. The vocalist part is strong and an additional percussion instrument is added for a great effect. The next song, “Vengeance is Steel,” also has a heavy metal sound to it. In this song there is a section where the heavy metal guitar goes back and forth with the rest of the rhythm section. Stacey vocals sound a little strained in this song, almost like she is trying to yell the words for a harder edge to the song.

“Looking For A Sacrifice,” also follows the heavy metal format with the driving guitars and drums. The vocals are strong, as well as a slight edgier sound, and have the band again joining in during the chorus. A short, well played guitar solo is added. The song, “Satan’s Crown,” opens with the guitars playing an ostinato again over the drum part until the vocals enter. The vocals are clear, with the band members joining on “Satan’s crown.” The drummer gets showcased in spots during the song and it is well deserved. Closer to the end there is a longer guitar solo as an interlude before the final verse. The song ends with the guitars and vocalist in unison.

Next is “Burned at the Stake,” a song which opens with a woman’s scream, and then breaks into the guitar intro. With a traditional steady drum beat underneath, the vocals have an almost chant like quality to them. In what would be considered the chorus, the lead guitar provides a very melodic countermelody. This song has a very energetic feel to it. “Black Hooves” also opens with the guitars. However, this song has slight syncopated feel to it in the vocal part during the verse. The instruments are very active underneath the vocals, while the vocal part has a wide range. At the end, there is a short guitar solo.

Even though it was very difficult to choose, “Ready to Sin,” the last song on the album, has to be my favorite. It is full of energy and the band never lets up. After opening up with the two guitars playing a repeated pattern, the drum and guitars play a driving rhythm. The vocalist comes in with very clear and strong vocals over the driving rhythm. The rest of the band joins in with one phrase of the chorus with Stacey finishing the chorus. The interlude features the two guitars playing a riff that is in sync with a pleasant harmony. The bass joins in for part of the interlude before a searing guitar solo leads into the final chorus. There is so much energy in this song that I am surprised that this song isn’t at the beginning. Despite the song’s name, it has anthem written all over it.

This album is quite interesting for me, since this was my first experience with Occult Heavy Metal. This album has very crisp and clear sounds, a product of being recorded with analog instead of digital, from all the instrumentalists and vocalist. I must say that the band did a very good job on this album. It shows how much this band has matured musically from their first album. The guitar riffs and solos are top notch and the new drummer has only enhanced the sound. This band stayed true to the pure metal sound and I must add that the version I received is the vinyl one, which I believe added to the clearer sound quality. Any true “old school” metal fan will definitely want to add this album to their collection and anyone looking to expand their music library should give it consideration as well. For additional information on the band, please check out the following links:

www.facebook.com/savagemaster666
www.savagemaster.bigcartel.com (Their website is under construction)

9.5/10

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