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Any little 18 year old Metallica fan should know that Savage were a major influence on those so called ‘Kings of Thrash’ - covering multiple versions of their songs on demos and b-sides and often throwing covers of their songs in their live sets. Thing is though – Metallica, the overrated band that they are, usually played these songs as part of their set without explaining their origins – thus usurping the credit of this excellent and thrilling NWOBHM act. So in turn; you might not know that the little known Savage were a big influence on top selling pop group Metallica, as they probably wanted to take a bit of that glory for themselves, from US audiences unbeknownst. The influence is pretty damn obvious however – in the tracks on this single – two crunchy guitared, heavy as hell rockers, drenched in aggression. Anyway, Savage fucking rules and they prove it here with this tough-as-nails single.
The title track needs to run for about ten seconds till you realize that Metallica done stuff almost identical to this a couple years later – and were hailed worldwide as innovators; hence becoming THE metal band for lame mainstream dorks to find ‘acceptable’. This killer track is a hard hitting riff MONSTER. Heavier than hell, with dirty, crunchy guitars intertwined with awesome vocal melodies. Savage really sound similar to riots early work – say ‘Fire Down Under’ – interestingly released a year earlier. The interplay of vocal structuring with chunky NWOBHM riffage, and the style of lyrics are very much comparable to the awesome Riot, and perhaps a couple of NWOBHM’s tougher acts (Raven). Totally awesome track, with an innovative intro that Metallica would go on to incorporate into their sound later on.
‘The China Run’ is much of the same – powerful, Riot-sounding blend of awesome vocal melody with the heaviest riffs around. Supremely awesome vocals in this one – perhaps topping the awesomeness of Chris Bradley’s performance in the previous song. Totally expert job all-round and genuine sound – Savage showcasing their veteran status as a band that formed as early as 1976 (and by a then 15 year old Chris Bradley). This single, and the album the cuts were taken from are both regarded as absolute marvels of the British metal scene to this day – at the time absolutely nuking 95% of anything that was around at the time – awesome lyrics, and tough guitaring. It’s a shame that Metallica often get the credit for a style that was arguably 70% Savage’s. The guitar tones and aforementioned toughness , as well as vocal aggression – and fretboard wizardy in the solos – as well as the jetfighter pace are all reasons early Metallica was praised for. Yet the unknown (to mainstream music fans) Savage was largely the inspiration. Give me NWOBHM over them anyday.