Savage Messiah

Insurrection Rising

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Considering that the '70s were full of '50s nostalgia and the '90s were full of '70s nostalgia, is it any surprise that the 2000s had their share of '80s nostalgia? It isn't. And in the metal world of the 2000s, that '80s nostalgia took the form of countless power metal revival bands, as well as many retro-thrash combos. The London-based Savage Messiah (formerly Headless Cross) emerged in the late 2000s and obviously fall into the retro-thrash category, but as their second full-length album, Insurrection Rising, demonstrates, they are better at it than much of the competition. One of the things that makes this 2009 release a winner is the fact that these Brits have such a strong sense of melody; for all their high-speed aggression, Savage Messiah don't govern by brute force alone. They are musical and intricate as well as forceful, and they bring a real sense of songcraft to nuanced tracks like "He Who Laughs Last," "Corruption X," "Silent Empire" and "The Serpent Tongue of Divinity." No one can accuse lead singer Dave Silver and his colleagues of trying to use volume and heaviness to camouflage a lack of substantial songwriting; if Savage Messiah had to unplug and perform this material in an acoustic environment, it would still hold up. And clearly, Savage Messiah are well aware of thrash's power metal heritage; Megadeth, early Metallica, and early Testament are prominent influences, but they also draw on power metal influences such as Queensr├┐che and Iron Maiden -- which is perfectly logical considering that thrash came out of power metal (thrash metal/speed metal came about when power metal was combined with the velocity of punk). Insurrection Rising isn't groundbreaking by any means, but that doesn't mean that it isn't enjoyable; this is definitely one of the more memorable retro-thrash recordings of 2009.

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