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Creature Of The Flames EP

Skol / High Roller (2017)
Rating: 6/10

Savage Master are the sort of band who evoke dark, dank and fiery images of 80s female-fronted metal acts such as Hellion, and I’m certainly not going to complain about that.

These guys from Louisville, Kentucky have been around since 2013 and released their Mask Of The Devil debut in October 2014. 2015 saw the release of the EP Black Hooves, followed by the band’s second full-length platter in the form of April 2016’s With Whips And Chains.

This latest EP is a five track affair built around the vocals of Stacey Peak and dual axe attack of Adam Neal and Larry Myers. Don’t expect Savage Master to create a whole new genre of metal, because what this posse coughs up is standard trad’ metal that gives off pungent stenches of dismal dungeons, slithering beasts and great battles to a soundtrack of clanking swords, rattling chains and demonic moans. It doesn’t want to be anything else, so if you still get a chill from hearing the gusts of winds outside the window or the creaking floorboards in a damp old castle then look no further than this aged, oaken festival of fun and standard heavy metal frolics.

Riddled with clichés, Creature Of The Flames burps into action with the galloping tour de force that is ‘Child Of The Witch’, a sub-standard roof rattler straight out of the mid-80s, right down to Stacey Peak’s rather unstable warble that is more shaky banshee than feisty heroine, but it’s a trait that’s difficult to criticise unless you’re a complete sceptic in regards to such grizzly and fusty metal. The drums of newest member John Littlejohn have a rather inoffensive clank, rattle and roll about them as the outfit trudges into the realm of dreary archetypes accompanied by Brandon Brown’s rather stale bass nods.

‘Burning Leather’ picks up the pace in pure generic fashion; rust, mould and Dungeons & Dragons paint spatters the walls as Stacey speaks of the “night” and “steel” with such a tepid conviction that I’m almost tempted to jump onto the bandwagon if only to add weight to the sound, because this EP really does seem to lack snarl and bite. But for what it’s worth it always remains fun.

‘Dark Enchantress’ sounds like a female-fronted Bad News with its lazy plod and Stacey Peak’s watery wail, and the well of mediocrity is explored even further with the title track that builds with a predictable “tension”. ‘Creature Of The Flames’ though is arguably the weightiest tune on offer, a suffocating foggy stroll through the bleak, mist-drenched mountainsides of the mind where all manner of ghouls and goblins dwell. Stacey attempts to warn us of prying eyes within spooky shadows but I’m just not afraid, having been bombarded by so many of these bands over the last ten years.

The cover of Holocaust’s ‘Death Or Glory’ is a nice touch, and oddly Stacey finds some extra gravel in her throat for this one – as do the rest of the combo who seem to up their game out of respect. It’s just a shame they couldn’t add such spice for the rest of the EP; one which saunters with about as much swagger as a dragon that has consumed too much chainmail and is about to flounder in the depths of its own urine. This is basic and rarely ballsy metal for people who were 13-years-old in 1985.

Neil Arnold

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