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After Headless Cross dissolved, Savage Messiah was formed out of the ashes and within a year of formation the whole line up aside from Dave Silver had changed from what it was at the start. So the spirit if Headless Cross is still within Dave then. Although in fairness only one of them left under negative circumstances.
At some point before all that happened the Spitting Venom EP was released. I think this was written and recorded as Headless Cross anyway, judging from the fact that former Cross members appear on the EP but never appeared on any Savage Messiah line up. This, as well as the fact that 4 of the songs have appeared on Headless Cross released before sort of begs the question of whether Savage Messiah was nothing more than a name change than a new band.
Anyway, the music. This is much better than the In Cold Blood EP (even though 3 of the 4 songs on that EP make an appearance here, but they sound better and the poorest song was left out) and is a worthy successor to the awesome Burning Sanctuary EP of 2005. For the record, I’m only going to review the 5 songs that didn’t appear on In Cold Blood. If you want to read about those songs, read that review as well.
Things start with the awesome title track which starts with a few seconds of feedback before attacking you with a heavy riff at twice the speed of sound. Dave’s vocals are then interswapped (is that a word? It is now) with some flashy lead work that sounds awesome, and it’s all topped off with a killer heavy chorus. A top notch thrash song.
“Frontline” is more mid paced, but no less thrashy and equally unforgiving. Get past the first song from the last Cross EP and we get to HEAVEN’S GATE!!! This is a song that was originally on the Crown of Thorns demo, before Burning Sanctuary, before Dave took over as the vocalist. This version is far better, with better production and much better vocals. The song has a riff that has similarities to “Master of Puppets” and even goes into a quiet interlude, but where the Metallica song failed this succeeds, containing some genuine atmosphere with whispered quotations from Tipitaka before going into a kick ass solo, rather than the silly boring meandering of the Metallica song.
As stated in my Headless Cross reviews, Dave Silver sounds a bit like Dave Mustaine, but more guttural and harsh. Past another In Cold Blood era song and we get to the ballad “Conspiracy in Silence”. Burning Sanctuary had a ballad of its own called “Blinding Sorrow” which was awesome and sounded a bit like “Fade to Black”. This one is even better with nicer melodies and a killer dark atmosphere. Dave’s vocals are awesome here, as are all the riffs.
A wee while after the In Cold Blood EP was released, Dave Silver himself sent me a rough instrumental he and drummer Sal Christian had written during a rehearsal. It was entitled “In For The Kill” and was a high paced power metal tinged thrasher with killer riffs and leads and was one of the best things I’d ever heard the band do. Here, the completed version makes it’s loud and aggressive appearance, complete with lyrics.
Things end with the title track of the previous EP and as stated in my review of that release, it’s a pretty unexciting mid paced thrash song that doesn’t really stand out. The worst song on here. Still, at least they left “Remission” out of this one.
So to sum up, this is an awesome debut to the Savage Messiah name, and is worth every penny for any thrash fans. One of the best bands in this “thrash revival” by far.