Savage Messiah

The Fateful Dark

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The fourth long-player from England's Savage Messiah, the Fateful Dark forgoes any and all attempts at subtlety by infusing its very Seventh Son of a Seventh Son-era Iron Maiden-inspired inaugural moments with a wailing air raid siren. It's an effective move, and also a bit of a red herring, as the remaining five minutes of album-opener "Iconocaust" are more concerned with navigating the serpentine hallways of groove-kissed, melodic thrash than they are the dual lead-driven blast of traditional power metal. Vocalist/guitarist Dave Silver can sneer like Dave Mustaine, but he can also reach the nosebleed seats with a fairly convincing Halford-esque falsetto, which he does to great effect on the meat-and-potatoes single "Hellblazer," a propulsive slice of double-kick-fueled melodic metal mayhem that evokes classic Helloween, Testament, and even Dio. The first half of Fateful Dark feels somewhat traditionally structured, leaning harder on the Bay Area thrash-meets-new wave of British heavy metal side of things, but the proceedings adopt a more progressive state of mind on the back half, with the surging, funereal title cut and the like-minded "Zero Hour" tearing through genres like the Big Bad Wolf blowing down a line of hastily constructed Mc-Mansions. Things speed up again with the one-two punch of "Hammered Down" and "Scavengers of Mercy," eventually coming to a head on the relentless closer "The Cursed Earth," and effectively signaling the end of another seductively wild ride from one of heavy metal's last purists.

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