SAVAGE, Holy Wars (1995, Neat)
See, these guys did it right. They decided they wanted a big dumb skull cover, so they hired a great artist to paint something awesome. The artist asked, “So, you want some kinda background? Like, maybe I could paint some teepees or Monument Valley or something…” and Savage said, “No, no. Just the skull, with the headdress, on black. That would look best, mate!” And they were so right! This has to be one of the finest skulls in the entire Skullection.
Savage’s first album, Loose ‘N’ Lethal is a minor NWOBHM classic, a fuzzy, proto-thrash romp that was evidently a formative influence on Metallica. Savage released one more album in the 80s before vanishing, only to reappear for the first wave of new wave nostaligia in the mid 90s. I used to see this album week after week in my favorite metal shop back then, and I always SO wanted to buy it, even listening to it on the store’s CD player many times in a vain attempt to learn to like it, but Holy Wars never won me over. It has the bluesy swing of classic NWOBHM (which is also to say, it doesn’t really sound like old Savage) but it comes with the glossy sheen of a band that hasn’t realized that hair metal isn’t so popular anymore. Nowadays, my standards lowered by maturity or senescence, I find this fairly enjoyable, if still totally inessential. If I saw this for sale, I’d totally buy it, though, then listen to it once and shelve it forever.
— Friar Johnsen