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Master Of Disguise

Black Dragon (1985)
Rating: 9/10

The newly launched French based Black Dragon Records have certainly come up trumps with their first release. Master Of Disguise is Savage Grace’s second vinyl offering and a vast improvement on the band’s The Dominatress EP. They have brought in a fine Dio-inspired vocalist in Mike Smith to replace John Birk, as well as the addition of ex-Agent Steel guitarist Mark Marshall, though the latter doesn’t appear on this album.

After a somewhat dodgy opener in the instrumental ‘Lions Roar’, which reminds me of Tokyo Blade, the album is a deluge of speed metal without a ballad or a mundane rocker in sight. ‘Sons Of Iniquity’, ‘Sins Of The Damned’ and ‘Bound To Be Free’ are power metal at its best with the latter featuring some maniac lead-work from Christian Logue.

‘Into The Fire’ and the superb title track are more in the thrash mould, while ‘Fear My Way’ and ‘No One Left To Blame’ sound more like Iron Maiden on speed. Finally, ‘Betrayer’ is a little more subdued and in the Dio vein but great just the same.

Master Of Disguise does have one weakness and that’s the production, which lacks the crispness of the recent Razor and Exodus releases. But this apart, the album is strongly recommended.

Bernard Doe

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 10 (1985)

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