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The most underrated NWOBHM masterpiece ever!!! ...That short line would be enough for this review introduction, but I would also like to say that I never understood how NWOBHM bands like this never achieved the fame of, for example, Def Leppard, when their sound was such pioneer at the time the released their stuff. I guess it was probably because they always stayed loyal to their genuine metal roots, and bands like this refused to complain greedy producers who only care about the money. So this record is obviously an underground true metal attack that never became a sellout or include any hit radio wonder but... who cares when this is one of the most brilliant Lp’s of the decade???
From the first tune to the last, “Loose ‘N’ Lethal” is an amazing display of brutal metal, pure and simple. Incendiary guitar solos, outstanding riffs and aggression is what you will find in this album. “Dirty Money”, “On The Rocks” or “White Hot” demonstrate what I’m saying; it’s clear that Savage were at their finest moment, definitely. Taking influences from Scorpions (listen to “The China Run”), Judas Priest or Black Sabbath, Savage reach a higher level than most of their genre mates around. A track like “Let It Loose” speaks for itself. Forget completely about the fact that this tune became so popular because Metallica covered in their “Hit The Lights” demo and just blow your speakers with it! Still I’m shocked to know that this was released back in 1983! Honestly I don’t think even Metallica themselves sounded that thrashy as “Let It Loose”.
Of course I have to highlight the band’s job, who are very professional and effective, even when their job gets affected so much because of the poor production and mixing, unfortunately. Specially lead guitarist Andy Dawson is still one of the most criminally underrated guitarists ever, his sound reminds me a bit of Edward Van Halen, Matthias Jabs or even Michael Schenker’s fierce guitar tone. Of course not as technical but he’s a hell of a good guitarist for sure. About Chris Bradley, mmh what can I say? His voice is annoying sometimes but contributes to buil that solid glorious sound (and I don’t think a “melodic” singer would fit in this band,so...).
Those wild riffs remain so heavy, and a bunch of years later “Loose ‘N’ Lethal” is still a classic masterpiece with all honours. Any NWOBHM or thrash or simply a fan of good music will love this album; highly recommended masterpiece you won’t regret picking it up.
With the onset of several bands stepping aboard the NWOBHM bandwagon, the order of the day was to drift slightly away from the traditional metal territory though still being a part of it. This is precisely what Savage have done on their debut. The album “Loose N Lethal” has got to be one of the first ever speed/thrash attempts by a U.K band without a shadow of a doubt. Though all the essential ingredients formulated for being dubbed NWOBHM are intact, the tone and presence of staccato riffs make this practically one of the grittiest releases much ahead of its time when it came out. The influence of this little gem on many a genre, which spawned a few years after, is downright unquestionable.
As mentioned earlier, the guitar tone works like a buzzsaw and must have undeniably given Metallica and Exodus a couple of ideas during the release of their debuts, considering that the bay area thrash veterans used to cover these guys among the elite list of some of the greats of British heavy metal. The production is raw and works for the band, so as to keep the intensity and harshness of their sound. As for the solos, they are done remarkably well making good use of the traditional harmonies that have been a staple of the NWOBHM. The vocals are pretty much standard with just a sprinkle of over the top freshness.
All the tracks in here blend along really well with speedier ones as well as mid paced levelers keeping the balance just about perfect. “Let It Loose” is the fastest one on this and one can never demand for anything more ideal than this steamroller to kick off an album with. Holy hell, these guys must’ve had some of the craziest headbanging on this one during their live performances. Next up is “Cry Wolf” and the double guitar licks on this breathe of pure excellence while the main riff smokes. Razor sharp riffs are what “Berlin” is made off. Just listen to that guitar tone and tell me if it isn’t capable of making your neighbors go stark mad, if played at high volume. And what better way to follow up than “Dirty Money” with a main riff that speaks of “Pure unadulterated heavy metal” and with a tempo ideal for moshing while banging your head at the same time.
The second half of the album starts off with “Ain’t No Fit Place”, a mid paced rocker with a clean guitar intro very reminiscent of early Def Leppard and Praying Mantis. “On The Rocks” sounds total 70s and wouldn’t have sounded out of place on an early Scorpions or UFO catalog while “China Run” is another meaty track with galloping riffs very much suited for sheer listening pleasure while going on a highway drive. The closer “White Hot” as the title suggests does not cool down the iron by any means.
Pitifully, the quartet didn’t raise too many heads over the years but are slowly starting to gain steady cult status in recent times all courtesy of Metallica, who borrowed heavily from the scene when they were just a fledgling band. But keeping their debatably miniscule fame aside, a better management and timing could have made these guys frontrunners of the scene if not superstars. I’d highly recommend this record to enthusiasts of Traditional metal and NWOBHM whereas Venom and Raven completists would find another reason to rejoice all over again.
one of those bands where their name completely and utterly sums them up... this is one of the absolutely dirtiest, most vicious albums I've ever heard in my life. It helps matters that the CD re-release is ripped from a vinyl LP that's distorting from here to the Belgian Congo... the guitar tone is something fucking fierce.
this almost goes into Ample Destruction territory with the amount of sheer fucking balls-out ass it kicks... the vocal performance is over-the-top, the riffs vicious, and we get one particular corner-case of NWOBHM. Venom were more unpolished and heavier, but even they were never this fucking slashing and brutal.
We've probably all heard Let it Loose, because Metallica did a pretty tepid cover of it sometime in the late 1980s (early 1990s? I forget when they did the studio version, but it was part of their set as far back as 1982). Imagine that sort of speed-metal riff style, not that far removed from the first Running Wild or maybe even Rage to come later, but again, with that buzzsaw-fuck of a guitar tone that would make Exodus drool.
The rest of the album doesn't quite get that fast again, but instead assaults you with midpaced power-metal number after power-metal number. The highlights are probably China Run and On the Rocks, though the first really heavy riff in Berlin is a real brick to the temple... imagine Green Manalishi, except someone threw a chainsaw into the batter before they baked the whole thing.
In general songwriting style, this isn't all that unusual for NWOBHM, but it still is a few years ahead of its time... lots of single-note power-metal riffage, which would really only truly come about in such a consistent fashion in the German power sound of the mid-1980s. A lot of people think Running Wild, et al, were spawned from Venom, but this would probably be a closer comparison.
The CD re-release comes with a few demos from 1980-1981, which are consipicuously lacking the over-the-top destroyer sound, and are a few years behind in terms of songwriting too, sounding more like staple NWOBHM than the missing Helloween demo from 1983.
Recommended? Fuck yes.