Although they were only formed in 2007, it feels like London’s Savage Messiah have been around for a lot longer than just over a decade. Regular album releases and frequent appearances on the touring circuit give the impression the band are old hands when they’re actually still relative newcomers. And with only eighteen months or so having passed since their last studio outing, the band are already preparing to unleash their fifth album, Demons (Century Media) into your lovely listening orifices.
Straight out of the starting blocks comes opener ‘Virtue Signal’ which finds the band in no mood for pissing about, going hell for leather, armed with big riffs and bigger vocals. The blood and thunder assault doesn’t last long, however, with the more subdued ‘What Dreams May Come’ entering melodic Power Metal territory.
‘Heretic in the Modern World’ packs a serious punch and features some superb guitar work, but the cover of country singer Chris Stapleton‘s ‘Parachute’ sticks out like a sore thumb, sounding like the band have listened to too many Jon Bon Jovi cowboy songs. ‘Under No Illusions’ steps in straight away to apologise, grabbing you around the throat with blistering riffery and a strong, if rather predictable, power metal chorus.
Trivium meets Megadeth and Metallica for the quite superb ‘Down and Out’, while ‘The Lights Are Going Out’ is languidly paced but armed with another strong chorus. ‘The Bitter Truth’ seems desperate to be an all-out Anthrax style thrash attack but just falls short. ‘Until the Shadows Fall’ is standard power metal fare, ‘Rise Then Fall’ is all sound and fury but doesn’t stay with you any longer than its running time, and while closing cut ‘Steal the Faith in Me’ isn’t a bad track by any length, the Gojira style final riff isn’t quite as powerful as it could be.
Straddling the lines between traditional, thrash, and power metal, Demons is aggressive and fast one moment, but then melodic and restrained the next as fiery, energetic riffs are countered with smooth canorous choruses. The drums can occasionally sound a little hidden during the record’s louder, thrashier moments, and the sequencing doesn’t help create much momentum, but from the performance of frontman Dave Silver to the impeccable playing of the rest of the band, Demons is varied, interesting, and still full of that youthful enthusiasm they seem too old to possess.
7 / 10