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Beyond the threshold of pain - 83%

autothrall, April 2nd, 2010

1986 was a year in which thrash metal finally made its presence known: loudly. Bands like Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica were churning out some of their best work (as it would turn out, some of the best work in the genre to date), and a wealth of newer bands were unleashing previously unheard, violent and energetic sounds. Seeing that Florida's Nasty Savage were already half arrived at this style on the s/t debut in 1985, it wasn't a huge leap for the band to shift their focus towards an overall harsher follow-up. This transition occurred through three notable alterations.

The first is through the increased thrashing of the guitars, which brought them in line with the standards of Anthrax, Exodus and Nuclear Assault while abandoning most of the classic/power metal overtones of the debut. The second transition is the vocals of Nasty Ronnie, which seem far more reigned in. He still visits the shrill heights from time to time, but most often works in his 'nasty', aggressive middle rage. And he's not often fucking around here (except near the 'climax' of "XXX"). Which leads us to the third mutation of Nasty Savage: the lyrics. The band have gone from tales of "Metal Knights" and the "Dungeon of Pleasure" to more serious fare here (song titles "Incursion Dementia" and "Distorted Fanatic"), and topics that deal in the day's big ticket thrash lyrics issues, rather than sex slave fantasies or the walking dead. Add to this the very bizarre choice of an abstract landscape for cover art, and you've got a more mature band. Like many metal bands of this period, Nasty Savage had grown up, which is most often (but not always) a positive thing.

At times, it can become difficult to determine which of the first two 'incarnations' of Nasty Savage that I liked more. The innocent, well measured fuckery of the debut, or this more emotionally tense and scarring thrash band that approached their art with a renewed affection, the determination of a ballistic missile as it sights its one target? In the long term I've grown fonder of this album and Penetration Point than the debut...the tunes are simply that much more crushing and resonant. And there is no buildup to this. No warning. The band break into "Stabbed in the Back" almost immediately and you can hear the transformation and sense of purpose here, a swift kick in the pants for the band's Bay Area or New York peers to signify that the rest of the country was not far behind when it came down to the thrashing. The song maintains the good, clear production of the last album; the flurries of guitar melody and loud and present bass tone. But the writing shows an advanced complexity, and the riffs have a cruel spike to them which I'm guessing kept every local gator well clear of this band's practice space.

If I'm painting too grim a portrait of Indulgence, let me assure you that the band is still fun through the sheer pomp and violence of their ministrations. "Divination" is a peppy, mid paced rager with more bounce than a pair of unstrapped breasts on a roller coaster, Ronnie taking the opportunity to create a ghostly shriek before the bridge similar to King Diamond (or Realm, who would come later). "XXX" is even more raunchy, a lament, or rather, a celebration for all the innocent lost to smut through their adolescence. Yeah, Nasty Savage still commit their dirty thoughts to the music, but here there is a purpose. A 'cautionary' tale. Title track "Indulgence" is vibrant and acrobatic thrash/speed metal with Ronnie's vocals exploring both their lesser and upper ranges, and some of the band's best lyrics yet:

There's a cyclone in your mind, it's throbbing at the end of a lie
But here and now, life is a great indulgence
Hell is paved with good intentions, but this is our time of joy
Play with fire, love the flame, this is our time of joy

"Inferno" is a WWII thrash piece with some sick, serpentine twists to the leads and melodies that seethe over the blitzkrieg of the hammering riffs (some of which would later be dubbed 'death metal'). "Hypnotic Trance" is another of these power thrash hymns, with some excellent drumming and leads, while "Incursion Dementia" throws a little nod back to the roots power metal of the band's waking years, one of the best and most bad-ass tracks on this album. "Distorted Fanatic" is also quite good, thanks to its evil Slayer-like opening melodies and the tightly spun, engaging thrash dynamics of the verse guitars. The album ends with an untitled 9th instrumental track in which the musicians take a few more liberties, but it's hardly the escapist shredder; the band could very well have included vocals here.

While I'm completely on board with the progressions the band has made from the debut to Indulgence, I'd have to say the album remains level to that in terms of its overall, lasting quality. Like Nasty Savage, it still sounds quite fresh today, though many other thrash and death metal bands have released superior product since. This was by no means a first class thrash metal album for 1986. The architecture is not as brilliantly structured as a Master of Puppets, and it's not nearly as wild or aggressive as a Reign in Blood or Darkness Descends. But once you get past that refreshing foam on top of the glass, to the bulk of the beer within, Indulgence would represent one of those first, fulfilling gulps you take on your plummet towards vomiting and unconsciousness.

Highlights: Divination, Inferno, Incursion Dementia, Distorted Fanatic

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Terror, doom, destruction-stabbed in the back - 87%

TexanCycoThrasher, June 6th, 2009

Indulgence, the epitome of perfection in the thrash universe. Nasty Savage nailed it on this release, honestly I can’t find one thing to bitch about on this album. Indulgence keeps the balance in-between, pure fast as hell thrash & mild tempo traditional metal, which says a lot about their musicianship.

Well as for the production--epic--the guy who did the mastering on this did an excellent job & definitely knew what he was doing. Every track is crystal clear & every instrument is equally heard, nothing is drowned out by another instrument, which is a great sign.

As for the players themselves they did as good of a job as the mixer did. The riffs are a-plenty and original, take a listen to “XXX” & you’ll know what I’m talking about. The rhythm adds great fills as well, from the crazed double bass throughout XXX to the snare/tom mix through Stabbed in the Back. But what essentially is my favorite aspect is Nasty Ronnie’s vocals, & how crisp & clean they sound throughout the album, and this high to low trade-offs he uses frequently, my favorite example of this is in Divinitation.

Overall a great release, these guys definitely knew what they were doing, to bad this record was one of many looked over in favor of $hitallica’s Master of Puppets.

Fun stuff, at times excessively cheesy - 66%

UltraBoris, April 20th, 2003

This is a pretty good album, though there are points where it just about becomes unlistenable. Though when it's on, it's excellent, occasionally thrashy speed metal.

The best... Stabbed In the Back. Total thrash mayhem. "Giving blood... knowing that you have AIDS." "Killing a man... over a twenty dollar bill." Haha what fun!! The rest of the album, unfortunately, does not live up to that mighty standard. The rest is okay, except at times Nasty Ronnie tries to be King Diamond and ends up sounding very badly effeminate. For example, see the title track. Also, my greatest complaint... what the fuck is up with the song XXX? Sounds like there's a baby in there. That's right, a fucking infant. Who the fuck puts an infant into a song about sex? It would be a decent song except that shit is unlistenable. Some things do not belong in metal, and babies are one of them.

The rest.... well, at times the songs end up sounding pretty similar, so it's hard to pick a real highlight or low point - Distorted Fanatic has a nice groove riff that is almost thrash metal, and Hypnotic Trance (despite the really silly lyrics) is pretty good as well. The ending is a cool instrumental... question mark, the bane of all mp3s everywhere because that's not something you can name your file.

Overall, worth getting. If you like your cheese piled high, you'll dig the fuck out of this.