Nasty Savage
Nasty Savage
[Metal Blade]

Back before the sulphur-well water in Florida made everyone go crazy and start a death metal band, five kids from Brandon got together and formed Nasty Savage, a band that (to me) wraps up everything good about heavy metal into one neat little package. Their "Wage of Mayhem" demo took the underground by storm in 1984, prompting Brian Slagel to sign them to Metal Blade, and in 1985 they went into Morrisound Studios (!) with Tom Morris (!) and cut this metal classic.

For those unfamiliar with the band, they seem to defy categorization, as they incorporated elements of most prevailing styles at the time. Basically, though, imagine classic early Priest/Scorpions style heavy metal, crank up the intensity a few notches to where it gets faster and more aggressive, add in some great twin-guitar work and a vocalist with a sheer OTT vocal style and stage show/image and you get Nasty Savage - and that's exactly what the debut sounded like. There were some straight-ahead thrashers ("Metal Knights", "Gladiator"), but both guitarists Ben Meyer and David Austin were good a writing odd-timed riffs and using ambitious arrangements to create songs that got out of the standard 'two verse/choruses, a bridge, and a solo' rut - songs like "No Sympathy" or "Garden of Temptation/Asmodeus" manage to cover a lot of musical ground.

Much like Mercyful Fate, if anything makes you love or hate this album, though, it'll be the vocals. "Nasty" Ronnie Galetti had a vocal style all his own - most of the lines are delivered in a 'melodramatic' midrange voice, but Ronnie also VERY often soared into high falsettos, and occasionally used some more gruff, low singing. A friend once likened his vocal delivery to the overacting of William Shatner - but like I said to the friend, "If you're a fan of Star Trek, do you care?" I certainly don't - overall, Nasty Savage always had an element of 'over-the-top' about them musically, and I think the vocals fit perfectly.

Basically, if you're into the whole mid-80s scene, when genres didn't matter as much as whether or not the music rocked, you'll like this album, because it fucking rocks.

1999 lord vic