I was very excited to see Primal Fear, Iced Earth and Savage Messiah all coming out with new albums within the first couple of months of this year. All 3's previous efforts were excellent, and while I didn't expect their 2014 releases to be as good, I was still hopeful for 3 very solid additions to my collection. Well Iced Earth's effort met with a yawn, and Primal Fear's was slightly better. Still overall I was disappointed in those 2 bands. But Savage Messiah was going to be different. This is a relatively new band, pretty new to me as I only heard them slightly over 2 years ago thanks to a wikipedia search. They're still relatively unknown, and should still be pretty hungry and eager to prove themselves.
The production is solid. Everyone is audible and it has a nice sound to it. The guitars have a sound more in between their 09 album and their 12 album. They're a little crunchier than the previous which is really the only complaint I had about that album, so that's a nice change.
The singer has an excellent voice with nice range, not Stu Block range, but then no one has that range. And his voice is very unique compared to other metal bands I listen to. He still sounds good on here. My major gripe with this album comes from his melodies which have slipped, especially on a lot of the choruses. We're given a few repetitive choruses which generally aren't my thing unless the melody and the music can support it. The musicians, which includes the singer as he plays guitar as well, do their job, but the melodies feel rushed. There have been a couple songs with simple choruses in the past, their first album didn't really have much in the way of distinctive choruses, but on Insurrection Rising and Plague Of Conciousness the rest of the album and even those songs with the lesser choruses were so good and the albums flowed so well it wasn't a big deal. Plus Shadow of a doubt had a catchy melody, even if it was repetitive. I forgave this on the debut “Spitting Venom” because they were a new band, but this just feels like a step back, and it just gives the album a rushed feel to it.
Musically this album is as good or better than the previous ones. I love most of the solos, so if you want good guitar solos there are plenty of them here. The band plays a brand of melodic thrash metal, which is a nice change with all the modern thrash bands and even some of the older ones who are still doing thrash abandoning all melody. The drums are played with a lot of energy and while the music doesn't seem to grow from the previous albums, it still gives the album a nice flow to it.
Iconocaust starts with a slow intro, which thankfully isn't too long, before going all out heavy and fast, starts the album off nicely enough. This one would have fit well on Insurrection Rising. It's pretty fun, but there's nothing new, and the chorus is only passible. There's a nice riff in the chorus. I like it, and but don't expect any growth. 8/10
Minority Of One is another decent song, and still has the album going in a solid direction. It's not as fierce as its predecessor, but it's still heavy enough and has a melodic chorus. Overall it's a good second track and continues a nice start to the album. 8/10
Cross Of Babylon reminds me a bit of the first album “Spitting Venom”. The verses are fast, as the previous 2 songs were, except the vocals more remind me of the first album. The chorus is a little disappointing but this song is really growing on me and might become my favorite on here so far. And for guitar enthusiests the solo is very good. Overall a nice 3rd track. 8/10
So, we're doing well so far right? Well let's get to the next song.
Hellblazer is kind of groovy and up tempo. The verses are solid with nice guitar work and vocals, and the rhythm section does their jobs nicely. I like the guitar part before the solo, and well the solo too. The build up to the chorus is also very nice. The problem I have with this song is the repetitive chorus, “Hellblazer” repeated a few times. Very few songs like this work for me and if it's going to work it really needs a solid melody, which this one doesn't. Each line is repeated in the same way as the one before it. It's ok, and most metal fans will probably not mind a repetitive chorus, but it really ruins a song with a lot going right for it.. 5/10
Live As One Already Dead, is the first ballad on here and it's played nicely enough. I prefer more emotion in metal ballads, but it doesn't sound completely emotionless. This just isn't a very good song. The verses are ok, and the chorus is worse, but still could be tolerable with a better verse. Really there's just nothing really holding this song together and it feels like a waste of the band's talent. The solo kicks, but I've come to expect nothing less than great solos from these guys. 5/10
The Fateful Dark is a slower mid tempo groovy song. It has the best chorus on the album which being a sucker for a good chorus helps me a lot, but the verses are no slouch either. This song adds something to this album, and has its own identity. I can't remember a song in their discography that sounds like this one, though it's still a metal song. Of course if you don't like this song you still have another killer guitar solo to listen to. It's honestly tough typing while it's going. Correction this is myf avorite song on here. 8/10
Zero Hour starts heavy then gets softer for the verse, before getting heavier yet again for the build up to the chorus and then the chorus. It's basically another ballad, but heavier than the last one. The verses are better on here than the last one, especially when the song is heavier, but the chorus again gets repetitive, with its repeated “zero hour” in exactly the same way each time. There's a cool distorted softer guitar part beginning the instrumental break which will develop into one of the heaviest parts on the album. The solo is shorter than I'd like, but still good, not as impressive as the ones before, but good enough given its shortness. This is an ok song, but I could have dealt with a better chorus or just not have a 3rd chorus and end on an instrumental would have been fine. Still it's ok, but not my favorite. 5/10
Hammered Down is another fast paced and heavy thrasher. The riffs are nice, though not unheard of. The chorus while not as repetitive as a couple of the songs just doesn't have a good melody to it. Overall again it's ok but not a highlight. 5/10
Scavengers Of Mercy is another heavy thrasher with solid verses, but again the chorus is kind of weak. This one's reminds me a little of the first album. Again it's ok, but not great.
The Cursed Earth starts with a heavy and groovy riff that turns into a similar verse. I didn't mention this enough but I am really digging the guitar sounds on this album, much better than the previous album. My problem again I won't repeat myself any more. It's still an ok song, but I really felt at the very least this needed a really strong album closer, and that didn't happen.
Still for all my complaints this is a decent album with a lot to offer, but if you've never heard these guys before get their previous 2 albums, Insurrection Rising and Pleague Of Conciousness, first. Those are both fantastic albums. I hate giving this album such a low score, but even on here you can hear what they're capable of and I expect better from them. I just hope the next album is a lot better, but this is still an ok album. If you're a fan you'll want to own it.