SAVAGE MESSIAH – Cathouse, Glasgow (Concert Review)

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Interesting times for metal band Savage Messiah.  They seem to have taken a step sideways musically from the thrash style they are best known for. The new album Hands Of Fate sees a more commercial aspect to them, being without doubt their best produced album to date. I was looking forward to hearing how the old and the new would merge together and if anything would end up top.

Although going for around 10 or 11 years, they have not yet become a household name. But, and this is an important but, on the night you could see how their hard work is paying off. When singer Dave Silver asked for a show of hands of those who were at their show in Glasgow two years before, there were very few. As he said himself “yes, there were not many there”.  However, when asked how many had seen them on recent support slots, there was a great reaction of hands and cheers.  This is proof that a band that work hard at writing songs and giving their all doing support slots can build themselves an audience. The question is, would tonight’s showing suggest continued growth?

Some of their music is inspired by the Big Four of thrash, along with artists like Judas Priest.  However, it now also includes touches of Thin Lizzy and even Y & T, which is never a bad thing. At the moment, they have Ali Richardson from Scottish metal band Bleed From Within as well as Sylosis from Reading (another Mike Portnoy in the making perhaps?) on drums filling in. Unless someone had mentioned that, you would never know, as he fits in perfectly.

The Band Live Onstage

The set was comprised mostly from the latest album Hands Of Fate, along with The Fateful Dark from 2014. They mixed it up quite well between the faster thrashier material and the more classic sounding hard rock and metal, keeping everyone entertained.

The crowd were definitely up for them, with the football style chant of “ooooooohhhhh Savage Messiah” being repeated over and over again as the band ran onstage. It might be a Sunday night, but that means nothing to a raucous metal crowd.  They opened the set with a 1 – 2 from the last two albums, which both feature heavy Metallica style riffs.  This led to immediate heads shaking and fists punching the air within the crowd. The audience were belting out “ois” during Sam S Junior’s solo in “Cross Of Babylon” very loudly.  The criss-crossing of solos ala Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were nicely timed and executed. Opener “Blood Red Road” is different inasmuch as there is a more melodic chorus in it. This hinted more of Power Metal in style.

The two tracks from the new record which seemed to get a particularly good reaction were the title track itself “Hands Of Fate” and “Eat Your Heart Out”.  The was sung so loudly by the crowd on the chorus that I could hear it from the back bar area; I had indeed sneaked out for another pint, but could still hear it very clearly. Both songs seem to be treated as real favourites already.

In Thought Alone” was a rather well put together ballad, which (with airplay) could reach a wider audience quite easily. This is where the Thin Lizzy vibe came in strongest, with some cool dual guitar work. Both Dave and Sam also did their own solos before combining.

It seemed to me, watching and listening to the audience, that they loved the chance to sing when there was newer songs.  However, they also wanted to throw their heads (and on occasions their bodies) around with the heavier numbers.  This they did, especially during “Scavengers Of Mercy”, where there was a pit going on.  In addition, the band’s name was being sang out loud. Dave did ask before if we “liked faster songs” and he definitely got his answer during that.

Dave was also raising a laugh.  Chatting with a member of the audience who dresses like Jesus, he remarked about “how pleasing it is to see that Jesus loves Hellblazer!”

Another good thing on the night was how well Dave sounded, even at the end of the main set when he held the last note on “Minority Of One”.

Final Thoughts

This was a very good performance, which went down very well indeed with the audience.  I can imagine the answer to the earlier question was a resounding YES! They impressed on the night, the audience lapped them up and had a blast. It will be interesting which direction they move more towards in the next year or so.  However, if they can continue to find a good balance between the thrash metal and more classic hard rock, they should do very well.

Set list… 1. Blood Red Road/ 2. Cross Of Babylon/ 3. Solar Corona/ 4. Scavengers Of Mercy/ 5. Hellblazer/ 6. In Thought Alone/ 7. Hands Of Fate/ 8. All Seeing I/ 9. Out Of Time/ 10. Eat Your Heart Out/ 11.Fearless/ 12. Minority Of One… Encore… 13. Iconocaust/ 14. Wing And A Prayer

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