Almost ten years after they'd officially disbanded, Mancunian metal crew Savage reunited to try and capitalize on some of those "once-covered-by-Metallica" credentials (the song in question being first album chestnut "Let It Loose," of course). Hey, can you blame them? Conveniently, they then joined forces with the also recently resurrected Neat Records, and 1995's Holy Wars was the first result. Unfortunately, between the power trio's still somewhat rusty songwriting skills and the independent label's recurring production and distribution doldrums, the album was fighting an uphill battle from the get-go. Sure, new concoctions like "Headstrong," "Suffer the Children," and the nicely frantic "Down and Dangerous" were competent and authentic enough in that they once again made it sound like Savage were cutting their records in a tin shed. But even wizened old metalheads will tell you a "tin shed album" sounded a hell of a lot better on vinyl than on CD! And anyway, the best thing one can say about additional offerings like "Anthem" (not as anthemic as it sounds) and the hard-rockin' "This Means War" (a little long and not that rockin') is that they hardly stink the room, while also failing to raise the roof. Throw in a few unashamed Thin Lizzy tributes in "How?" and "Fashion by Force" (both apparently written years earlier for a short-lived Savage offshoot called XL), plus the to-be-expected rehashing of "Let It Loose" (still awesome!), and things start smelling really fishy. But no more fishy than dozens of re-formed N.W.O.B.H.M. bands of the period, and among that predominantly sorry lot, it must be said that Savage's comeback opus fared better than most.
Holy Wars Review
by Eduardo Rivadavia