Savage Messiah‘s The Fateful Dark just may restore your faith in metal (if it was waning for some inexplicable reason). The all killer new album from the London based act is a maze of melodic metal vocals reminiscent of metal’s yesteryear married to the modern aggressive riffing we’ve come to savor in 2014. Metal Riot got an inside look at the album from vocalist/guitarist Dave Silver as well as talked about their new video “Hellblazer” with contortionist Pixie Le Knot (Game of Thrones season 3).
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First off, congrats on a killer release. How long did it take you to compose and record this record? It has the marks of a future classic.
Dave Silver (lead guitar and vocals): Cheers!! From start to finish it took about 12 months all in all, but we were still actively picking up shows and tours and stuff so it was written over a period of time, rather than just getting in a rehearsal room for six weeks and writing the record.
The title track “The Fateful Dark” really slams with a strong opening attack. It is very classic. Kind of reminds me of Slayer meets “Struggle Within” by Metallica. There are many great songs on the album, but how did you know this was the one that would be the title track?
We just felt that it had that kind of ambiguity that we wanted and it was a song we all felt comfortable with as the title track. When we wrote the song we thought it was a cool head banger, but once we got that really melodic catchy chorus in there we thought it was a nice example of what we as a band are trying to achieve musically.
The “Hellblazer” video looks really pro and the track is very alive. What gave you the great idea to use a contortionist (Pixie Le Knot) to signify demonic possession? It looks very real!
Thanks! I liked that song for its simplicity and also for it having a really “heavy metal” gallop to it. All the ideas for the actual video came from our director Tom Walsh, who did a really cool job on putting the whole thing together! And we couldn’t be happier with it.
Yeah! It does have the gallop! And some slick guitar runs. Headbanging is inevitable! The new album really is a great work all the way through. So many good parts where I found myself very absorbed. Do you feel it is your best work?
So far, it’s the best album we’ve done to date. Myself and the others still feel like we’ve got a better album in us, but it’s definitely a massive step in the right direction. We had fun writing it, and we enjoy playing the songs, and I also feel that we learned so much about our songwriting that I can’t wait to really get down and start working on the follow up, which is unusual, because in the past as soon as the record is done, making another one is the last thing on our mind!
When you are coming up with guitar solos, do you focus more on it fitting the song or technical skill/burning faces off?
For us, it’s all about trying to find a “song within a song” when it comes to solos. We do get a bit of shred in there, because that’s what we’re into, but I’d like to think that it’s focused and musical, rather than just being scales played really fast.
“Zero Hour” is my favorite song on the record. It has so much power and atmosphere. The drum sounds you guys got for this record are great. The snare cracks so loud! Do you feel it is important to have dynamic range to make an album more listenable or do you not pay attention? Your songs have a lot of highs and lows that make it more interesting, but always strong metal.
Dynamics are really vital, absolutely. It’s important to try and engage with the listener and then sustain their attention, so it’s cool to be able to mix it up, just to keep things interesting. The drumming on the album is really killer though, Andrea did such a great job. It was his first time in a professional recording studio, but he really stepped up to the plate. “Zero Hour” was a song that came together fairly early in the recording process, and it set the scene for our rule of writing songs from the title first!
I love the melodic but thrash influenced vocals. I think many vocalists are afraid to use their own voice and have to copy other bands to seem tough. It makes many newer deathcore bands sound really similar. What are some of your classic vocal influences?
I agree! I’m so fed up with hearing growling and screaming in metal. I still love all the classic death metal though, but those artists seemed to have a certain something that’s missing in a lot of newer extreme stuff, and I think you’re right, it comes down to identity. My influences are all the classic metal singers like Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Dio etc…But with my vocals it’s a bit harder because I’m playing guitar at the same time, but I enjoy the challenge, and I’m getting better at it with each show.
Am I right that “Minority of One” is about doing your own thing in life? Can you talk about that song? It reminds me a bit in the verses melodically of classic Megadeth, just really hard charged and cool. How do you guys play this stuff live? There is a lot going on! It isn’t super crazy technical time signature changes every five seconds type metal, but there is a lot of skill to pull off these songs, I’d imagine. The guitar solo in “Minority of One” is super crazy!
It can be a challenge, especially as nowadays I write guitar parts as a guitarist and then write vocals parts like a singer, so I don’t take into account the logistics of playing and singing at the same time. This means I’m forever dealing with polyrhythms, and it takes a lot of work to get both elements sounding good at the same time. For me though, I love the challenge, I love playing music, and to me sitting down for 5 hours with a metronome working out which syllable of which lyric falls on which note of any particular riff is a labor of love.
How did you decide on the production team and cover artist for this release and what are you most excited about the rest of 2014?
We were always going to record the album with Scott Atkins, who we’ve been working with since 2009′s Insurrection Rising. He brought a lot to this album and he really helped us take the songs to another level. We worked with Peter Sellai again because we were so pleased with the last album cover and we wanted him to carry on with this character that he created for us. Hopefully 2014 will be the year that we finally break out as a major touring act, our workload has been steadily increasing over the last 6 months and we’re really starting to build momentum.
Thanks for the super bad ass album!
Thanks to you! And to all your readers, stay savage!