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Spitting venom, and some teeth too. - 84%

hells_unicorn, March 21st, 2012

The recent resurgence of thrash metal has managed to bring a few jolts to the once floundering UK scene, spawning a number of respectable acts of the more old school persuasion. Among these is a wicked outfit out of London in Savage Messiah that have managed to straddle some of the modern trappings inherent in the recent output of more established acts such as Annihilator and Exodus and married the sound to the classic NWOBHM influenced older style while avoiding many of the downsides of the former style. “Spitting Venom” entered to understandable media hype in 2007 considering the company that it shared during that time (Warbringer anyone?), and has actually managed to live up to a good deal of it.

While this band definitely has their “No Life ‘Til Leather” image down pat, the overall vibe of this album has a bit more of a sci-fi feel to it, almost like a late re-entry to the “Painkiller” approach with a lot of speed metal trappings. The first album that tends to come to mind is “Carnival Diablos”, though the vocal approach is a bit more of a vintage in character and brings an equal helping of Halford and Hetfield to the mix. Dave Silver definitely gets the job done something fierce on here, separating himself from a sizable pack of generic screamers and actually brings a strong helping of melody into the equation, while the guitar work definitely takes on a strong retro feel during the lead breaks and conjures up images of very early Kirk Hammett mixed with some K.K. Downing.

On the whole, this album is at its best during the first few songs where things are mostly in up tempo territory. “Frontline” and “Servant To Your Death” pull out some nice Bay Area styled elements, but largely tend to resemble that early 90s character where things are taken a bit slower and develop in a more gradual manner. It isn’t until “Heaven’s Gate” that things flirt with epic territory, but for most of this listen the album feels a bit drawn out despite the mostly shorter time lengths, making the ears question whether this is an EP or an LP. “W.D.U.” almost leaps into “…And Justice For All” territory, while “Conspiracy In Silence” languishes a bit in a morbidly subdued fashion reminiscent of Overkill’s “The Years Of Decay”. If nothing else, this band definitely wants to avoid coming off as outright one-dimensional.

It’s a foregone conclusion that anyone who took to the now ubiquitous thrash revival scene will probably go for this, though it does do a fair share to differentiate itself from the pack. This isn’t quite overt Metallica worship, nor does it try to fully marry itself to the Exodus or Annihilator sound, but there are enough elements of all 3 to deceive the ears into thinking that from one song to the next. And for those who just want a straight up ass kicking in less than 4 minutes, check out “In For The Kill” in all of its neck-destroying glory, you won’t be sorry.