Live Review : Savage Messiah + Riptide @ Academy 3, Manchester on May 2nd 2019

My passion is live music and there are many bands over the years that I have championed and talked passionately about to anyone who would listen. However i am very aware that most of the bands that I raved about have been acquired tastes and would never amount to anything more than a cult concern. But then once in a while comes around a band that I feel could and may be huge and have the songs and the presence to rule the universe. Savage Messiah are one of these bands. Tonight is a joyful celebration of both what they have achieved so far and more importantly what they will go on to achieve with the imminent release of their new album “Demons”.

Openers Riptide get a raw deal as there is at best a mere handful in the room to watch them bound on stage. Now Riptide are Huddersfield’s gift to the new wave of thrash and they play a very high tempo and technical variant of the genre, think early Overkill and Testament, they are also ridiculously young. Their youth is probably the reason why their sound feels raw and not fully formed. There is some really good stuff here and it does have a real classic Bay Area feel, but it feels identikit eighties thrash as opposed to them having their own distinct identity. Their vocal style is are also potentially divisive, personally I loved Adam Smith’s coarse raspy delivery but ROCKFLESH’s mastermind and photographic genius found it grating. But snipes and nit-picks aside there is something here and the smooth edges and distinct personality will come as there is heaps of promise and musical ability on display.  

This is Savage Messiah’s moment. They have been steadily working their up Metal’s greasy pole and have gained a reputation as very much one to watch. Performances at Bloodstock, Download and Damnation have all been well attended and there is a real buzz about new record “Demons”. This is the point where Savage Messiah are poised to step into the big time and the band put on a highly energetic performance that is full of passion and spirit and the sound they produce is just excellent. This is very much David Silver’s band and he holds court stage centre acting out the lyrics to his songs and interacting (as much as possible) with the first few rows. There has been personnel changes since I last saw them (Dave playfully mentions that the turnover in the drum and second guitar positions are nothing to do with his tyrannical personality) with the addition of a keyboardist as apparently the new tracks from the new album required it.

We get (by my counting) eight tracks from the yet to released “Demons” and the introduction of keys does not in anyway indicate a mellowing or lightening of their sound, this is muscular commercial thrash but it just now has an additional layer and additional dynamics. I do need to say the new tracks are utterly excellent. ‘The Bitter Truth, 'Down and Out' and 'Under No Illusion' are already on Spotify and live have real weight and presence, however the real nuggets are 'The Lights Go Down' and 'What Dreams May Come ‘as they see Silver really pushing his song-writing skills and an obvious maturity in the band’s sound and scope. They are respectively reminiscent of Megadeth’s 'A Tout Le Monde' and Metallica’s 'Nothing Else Matters' in that by moving out of the groups comfort zone they are producing something rather special.

The main set finishes with another high impressive new track 'Parachute' before rather lame calls and half arsed whistles gets the band back quickly on stage for the inevitable (and obviously pre-planned) encore. “As you were so loud we decided to come back” remarks David Silver in an endearing sarcastic tones, making direct referencing to the obviously luke-warm response. We get two more tracks and then they are gone telling us all to go check out “Demons” when it drops on May 17th . As said the material and the stage craft are excellent and this is a band on the ascendancy, starting right about now with a support slot on Symphony X European tour. You’ve been warned!

Words by Stewart Lucas
Photography by Johann Wierzbicki