"There are a lot more bands out there that are more thrash" In Conversation with Savage Messiah
Having just released their fourth album, Hands of Fate, and also celebrated their first decade of existence we were able to sit down with lead guitarist and vocalist Dave Silver to talk all things Savage Messiah and their plans for the future.
Thanks for talking to TDF, how are things in the Savage Messiah camp?
Yeah, we have some shows coming up in January, we are just gearing up to get the ball rolling again.
You're actually celebrating ten years as a band this year, right?
That's correct, I hadn't actually thought about that! Our demo EP actually came out in 2007 so yeah a long, long time ago.
So let's talk about the new record, Hands Of Fate. It's three years since your last album, do you get nervous when something new is about to drop?
No, not really. I mean with this album particularly, it's such a long time in the making and there were so many things to go through to get to this point in time. It was kind of a relief, like finally the album is done. We started writing in 2015, changed labels, got a new manager, went through this whole change period. So it was a great feeling to get it out and back on the road.
So there is more stability within the Savage Messiah ranks now that's all out of the way?
Absolutely, that's correct.
The one song that's been released from the new record, the title track, not so much a change in direction, but there seems to be a lot more groove in the new track?
So for us we took an objective view of the band, the groovy and melodic elements, which have always been present from the beginning, but infused with a heavy thrash influence, which we feels as a band we excel at. We never felt we were a very good thrash metal band. There are a lot more bands out there that are more thrash. Whereas when it came to us playing that, it was almost a stock copy and less organic. So we kind of just moved into the groove thrash space because we felt that was where our strengths lie.
With the title track being so groove orientated and melodic is that indicative of the album as a whole or is it just that one particular song? I said to my wife that it sounds like Metallica fronted by Bon Jovi.
Well we do have a core audience that we don't want to alienate, so there are a couple of moments on the new record that are like albums of old. It's funny you shoud say Bon Jovi though. Years ago our producer Scott noticed vocally I have a similar voice to Jon Bon Jovi. Actually one of the things we did differently on this record is that I went to a vocal coach because I was struggling to do some of the older stuff live. So I went to a vocal coach and we went through some scales, and she told me that I was a Baritone. I asked her what does that mean and she said that all the stuff I was listening to like Iron Maiden are like Tenors and you don't have that voice.
So on this record we wrote what we wrote with that in mind and within the restrictions of a Baritone. It just so happens that Bon Jovi sings in Baritone, so vocally that's where the register is on the record. I think it's quite funny.
You recently toured with Cradle of Filth. That's a band with quite a different sound to you.
With the Cradle of Filth thing, there is quite a diverse heavy metal scene in the UK in 2017, and a band like us can go out with a band like them. We played a one off show in Portsmouth with them and the crowd gave us a fantastic reaction and they asked us to do the UK tour. Ten years ago we probably not be able to do this. The, what I call, "Metal Hammer" reader is a lot more open to seeing a diverse range of bands theses day on a bill. It's exciting.
How do you feel about the UK metal scene as a whole? Do you see it in good health and ready for a band to break through into the mainstream?
I think it's very difficult for a band within the music that we love to break through into the mainstream. Some of the more US sounding bands like Bullet For My Valentine have had some success but I don't think the public perception of metal is ready for another cultural shift where metal or rock are the favoured genres.
Let's get back to talking about the new record to finish off, what was the recording process like? What was done differently?
Well we wanted to work with our long time producer Scott Atkins again. He has worked with us for the longest time and understands what we do. On our last couple of records, we had gone into to the modern metal, very polished, clean kind of synthetic sounding drums. I actually felt sorry for our drummer because he is a fantastic drummer and it sounded like a drum machine at times. So we went to Rockfield Studios in Monmouth and we hired it out to do live drums and that was a very live sounding drum sound. We were in Grindstone Studios to do the rest of the instruments. That was the same kind of vibe.
Any plans for the rest of 2017 and into 2018?
Well we will be doing something in the UK in the early part of next year alongside plans for a US tour, now that we've changed labels we have further options to spread out and go to places we haven't been before and with plans for a UK tour, now we're four albums in, if we can't do a headline UK tour now, we never will. We are excited for the challenges 2018 will bring!
Thanks David and good luck for 2018.
Savage Messiah have indeed announced a UK headline tour since this interview took place with dates and tickets available here.