1/12/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
True power wielders of thrash and a major influence for many bands
Who can forget Nasty Ronnie, and the macabre, thrash metal masterpiece released by these metal mad geniuses in 1985? Apparently we have, considering many headbanging fanatics refuse to give these guys their fair shake. Nasty Savage completely revolutionized metal, technically creating the first real death metal release with their self-titled debut on Metal Blade Records.
Nasty Savage is the true power wielders of thrash and a major influence for many bands, whether they admit it or not. They have had a major impact on Jon Schaffer, Metallica, Deceased, and even Overkill both musically and lyrically. Their brand of power-thrash mayhem is widely considered by collectors "in the know" as the innovators of a dark and more lethal sound, with some calling this record death metal. Ronnie's voice is a far cry from the guttural screams evident on the genre's publicly debated "first death metal release", Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" in 1987.
Rivaling only Jag Panzer's '84 album "Ample Destruction" in sheer over the top madness, this chaotic firestorm gallops and crushes just about everything prior to. Sure it borrows some wicked stomps from Sabbath and Priest, but for the most part this is one dangerously powerful record that refuses to display even the smallest hint of weakness. It is balls to the wall from start to finish, with huge crunchy chops, soaring leads, a ballistic battery, and Ronnie's insane wails, a combination of King Diamond (Mercyful Fate), Rob Halford (Judas Priest), and Eric Adams (Manowar). The music is technical at times, but for the most part delivers quality, quick paced hooks that just rip and tear, allowing plenty of time for Ronnie to deliver his ominous, sadistic mid-range, or his falsetto highs. Let's look at some examples...
With an almost frightening opening that leaves you guessing, the raw power of "No Sympathy" kick in and it is a dark, blissful sound. Nasty Ronnie almost uses a spoken word delivery, declaring all the saints to enter the gates of hell, leaving absolutely no sympathy for the weak. The sound continues to pound delivering "Gladiator", allowing those signature vocals to shine again. "Dungeon of Pleasure" showcases terrific guitar work along with an array of solos, add the drums and vocals in the mix, and you have a headbanging classic the entire way through. My favorite cut is the King Diamond styled "The Morgue", with its hair raising horror story telling (perhaps influencing King Diamond on his track "To The Morgue" off of "Spider's Lullabye"). "Metal Knights" is equally destructive, along with the crunchy stop start delivery of "Fear Beyond The Vision", which obviously inspired a host of metal acts.
The record was recorded at Morrisound Studios in Tampa Florida and produced by Jim Morris with collaboration from Nasty Ronnie (vocals), David Austin (lead guitar), Ben Meyer (lead guitar), Fred Dregishcan (bass), and Curtis Beeson (drums). At the time this very well could have been the deadliest, most sonically brutal album ever created. Now, with plenty of production shazam and computer tinkering, every band can seem this heavy. But few can match the power and authority of this Florida wrecking crew.
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