One of the most striking things about listening to ‘Demons’ Savage Messiah’s fifth studio album is the knowledge that the band went into the studio with barely no songs to record, they jumped in at the deep end and have come out the other side unscathed and in a better position.
‘Demons’ opens up with ‘Virtue Signal’ a heavy number that is simply a fast and furious start and sets us up for what is to come. ‘What Dreams May Come’ is another glorious track with a catchy chorus and melodies as sweet and as sincere as they are meant to be. David Silver sings ‘Heaven could never be heaven without you’, I mean just ‘wow’, that’s a beautuful slice of uplifting melancholy right there. It is a stand out track which is very catchy and feels like an instant crowd pleaser.
‘Heretic in the Modern World’ has a super opening and rounds up with a brilliant middle 8 and you realise that this is a band at the peak of their powers, who are pushing themselves to their limits. Fourth track ‘Parachute’ is a romantic love letter and in fact a cover song, originally performed by folk singer Chris Stapleton no less.
‘Under No Illusion’ has already been released as a single, complete with a catchy ‘Ride the Lightning’ Metallica era riff. And that is the most appealing thing about this album, the riffs. Whilst Silver’s influence is all over ‘Demons’ there is a massive cohesive effort here from David Pear on guitars who also provides backing vocals and Mira Slama has always been one of my preferred bass players of the last couple of years. The drums of Charly Carreton really shine especially on the first half of the record, check out ‘Virtue Signal’ or ‘Down and Out’ which simply feels like it is virtually coming out of your stereo.
‘Demons’ of course isn’t all heavy, an album containing a Chris Stapelton cover wouldn’t be but it has a wonderful balance to it and a lot of that credit has to go down to producer David Castillo who has worked with the likes of Soilwork and Opeth. This record feels like a leap of faith and the band certainly had to do that to drop Scott Atkins as producer. Maybe drop is too harsh of a word but they did make that decision to change and it is the first time that Atkins has not produced a studio record for the band.
To summarise this is Savage Messiah’s most melodic album by far but at the same time it has crunching tunes and those heavy headbanging numbers are still here, this is a good record that will undoubtedly bring in a new legion of fans.