Savage Machine. I hope they never apologize for their music. Ever. Without apology, Savage Machine plays, in their own words, "old school" heavy metal ala the Eighties. We're talking a resurrection of what made heavy metal not only original, striking, and controversial, but freakin' awesome. Born out of the ashes of Momentum, these Danes bring you their first EP, Through The Iron Forest.
Listen, this quintet gets it, the essence of classic melodic heavy metal. Important melodic riffs over a groove-laden bass line, pushed along by booming drums. Of course, they offer twin guitars; in this case, lead and rhythm working in tandem. (Never underestimate the importance or power of a fine rhythm guitarist.) Being true to the genre, they mix the swiftness and steadiness of trad power metal in the appropriate balance. Over this, vocalist Troels Rasmussen offers traditional metal vocals, being clean, harmonious and, when necessary, screaming out. Not to pigeonhole him, but he reminds me of a more aggressive Tobias Sammet. Unfortunately, sometimes Rasmussen is hard to understand. The reason, perhaps, is that his presence and articulation takes a beating from the production, or simply gets to screamo. Nevertheless, all the elements gel quite nicely.
And that very fact, that gelatin of heavy metal, is the thing that I find quite pleasing and entertaining. For instance, riffs and drums are the power in Prisoners of War, but not without sacrificing melody. It's a racing number, but if you miss this fundamental substance, and then the kickass solo after the midpoint, you've missed the point. It's the same with the Final March, the Savages use a more moderate pace from the rhythm section in combination with the chunky riffs to develop an epic feel. Some might say this is too much, and I might agree that the song is a bit too long, but the point is made. Unfortunately, Rasmussen gets into his screamo. But the guitars, again, kick some ass. Then there's likely the slowest number, heavy, definitive, and powerful, with The Easy Way Out. It's a contrast between sharp riffs against nearly doom metal heaviness and, once more, the lead guitar is soaring, even metal punishing.
Hey, it's all good. If Savage Machine, mad "old school" metal geniuses they may be, continue this course they will be monsters of the modern underground classic heavy metal movement. Maybe even the Leviathan that rises and conquers the modern metal, harsh and hardcore, posers that have ruled the day for too many decades. Buy it, dig it, enjoy. Easily recommended.
Danish metal monsters Savage Machine offer, without apology and in their own words, "old school" heavy metal, and they're damn good at it. Welcome to the new school. Get it, and don't look back.
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