SAVATAGE, The Dungeons Are Calling (1984, Combat)

The skull:
The skull’s maw opens in a squeal of madness, apparently the remains of someone tied in chains in a dungeon (see chains on the right), although I never got the gigantic eye dropper…but maybe now I do…it may have been the torture device that sealed this unfortunate dude’s fate. But now he’s #9 in the Big Dumb Skullection. Prestige! God this cover rules. So does…

The music:
Aside from the first side of Ride the Lightning or the first side of Metal Church, is there anything more headbangable than the first side of this EP? The title track and “By the Grace of the Witch” are as lethal a one-two punch as any great metal album openers you could name. Unbelievably awesome riffs, the melodic banshee screech of Jon Oliva, the blunt impact of the production…metal perfection. The rest is good too, but maybe not quite as memorable as the first two songs, excepting “City Beneath the Surface,” another Sava-classic. I’d rather listen to this on any given Christmas over Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but I do like when I’m at the post office and see promo tie-ins with T-SO…which is nothing less than victory for The Dungeons Are Calling. Who thought anything related to this classic EP would be tied into the United States Postal Service one day? What a wonderful world.
— Friar Wagner

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