SAVAGE MASTER "Those Who Hunt At Night"

By Dr. Abner Mality

I've seen SAVAGE MASTER in concert several times and it's always been a memorable show. Their past records have never really captured the excitement of those gigs. I'm not sure "Those Who Hunt At Night" does either, but it comes closer than anything I've heard before.

This is also their most varied album, showing a wide range of influences. You can't just write this one off as "NWOBHM flavored speed metal", there's just too much going on. Although yes, you will still hear both NWOBHM and speed metal touches. Really, I'd best describe SAVAGE MASTER as just straight up heavy metal. That's heard best with the very first track "Hunt At Night", which almost has a KISS meets PRIEST like sound to its throbbing, basic riffs. It also demonstrates that Stacey has never sounded better vocally...her voice rings like a bell.

You still get speedy ass-kickers like "Spirit of Death" and "Vaster Empires", but there's a lot of moodiness to "Rain of Tears" and "The Death of Time". The latter song does seem to drag a bit, but it's sure better than the awful song they ended their last album with. The music is mostly a mix of British sounding pure metal and a kind of 70's American hard rock feel, given further energy by Stacey's clarion tones and some great lead soloing.

Lyrically, the band is still drenched in occult and fantasy themes, but that's not gonna surprise anybody who looks at the album cover. All in all, this is the most fully realized SAVAGE MASTER album yet.