Savage – 7/Live N Lethal
Release Date: October 9, 2015
The early 80s New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) had its share of unheralded bands, and among them Savage stands taller than most. Not only did Savage help usher in the NWOBHM sound, they were among the first to emphasize speed. Sadly, Savage were a little late to the game when they released their debut album Loose N’ Lethal in 1983, but that debut album stands as a monument to the NWOBHM style.While the band slid quietly under the radar of most, the likes of Lars Ulrich and Metallica were paying attention, picking up ideas and inspiration from the fiery U.K. outfit.
Savage made a major return with 2012’s magnificent Sons of Malice. Older and wiser, frontman and bassist Chris Bradley along with co-founder and guitarist Andy Dawson have managed to bottle the magic of classic Savage with a mature and modern style. Guitarist Kristian Bradley (Chris’ son and Andy’s nephew) joined the band along with drummer Mark Nelson, as part of the quartet’s resurgence. This month Savage returns with its seventh studio effort, aptly titled 7, which also comes with the band’s new live effort, Live N Lethal.
A dozen new songs pack 7, and the riff driven power of “I Am the Law” sets the wheels in motion. The driving rocker is a perfect start to the record and gets the fists pumping immediately. Chris Bradley’s vocal delivery is as powerful as it ever was, and his bass shakes the walls as he leads the band straight into “Lock n’ Load”, another riff fest, propelled by Nelson’s pummeling stick work. Dawson lays down the first of many inspired solos.
The band slows the tempo for the slithery “Empire of Hate”, then gets raucous and playful on beefy groove of “Super Spy”. The pace picks right back up for the rolling guitars and high velocity drumming that push “Circus of Fools” along.
A tribal chant opens the sludgy and plodding “Crazy Horse”, before Savage returns to the aggression-fueled metal onslaught of “Speed Freak”. The moody acoustic ballad “The Road to Avalon (Sins of the Fathers)” slows the momentum, while a tolling bell rings in the mid-tempo and Dio-esque “Children of the Night”.
Savage accelerates into the album’s final stretch with the frenzied bite of “Payback’s a Bitch”, then muscle up on the freight train crush of “Shake the Tree”, and the dirty and lumbering “Heads Will Roll”.
While 7 is a solid enough slab of metal beastliness on its own, Savage also includes its recently recorded concert, Live N Lethal. The band’s only live record besides its Live Aardshock 1984 release, finds the band playing the entirety of its 1983 debut album, as well as “We Got the Edge” from 1995’s Hyperactive album and “Smiling Assassin” from 2000’s Xtreme Machine. The live disc also features “The Rage Within” and “Black n Blue” from 2012’s Sons of Malice.
7/Live n Lethal is a fantastic combination of the band’s classic era and its modern age sound in one signature set. For long time Savage fans or those who are just discovering these highly overlooked NWOBHM heroes, this is a record set traditional metal fans can sink their ears into.