Noble Savage - Killing for glory 4/5
1. Lady of the snow
2. Wind of victory
3. Noble of the sea
4. Shadows of the night
5. Time to kill
6. Black blade
7. Season of lies
8. We'll never die
Relative newcomers Noble Savage formed in 1999 but are only now releasing their debut CD (after the almost inevitable couple of years delay from Underground Symphony to publish the finished recordings), but it has proved to be well worth the wait as they have struck gold with 'Killing for glory'. Hopefully someone is stalking the offices of Magic Circle Music right now, looking for Joey DeMaio's office, carrying a copy of 'Killing for glory' in one hand and a post-it note with "This is how you do it, remember?" written on it in the other, because, this is indeed how you do epic true metal.
They have struck a near-perfect balance of all the elements that are required for this type of music. A lot of bands in this style tend to get bogged down by staying slavishly in midtempo, but the songs on 'Killing for glory' have enough variations in speed to stop it from sounding like Noble Savage are repeating themselves. It is as simple as varying between grooving mid-paced and quasi-speed metal songs, but even this minor variety is more important than some of their contemporaries seem to realise.
In saying that, powerful, marching, mid-paced riffs are still the foundation of the CD, driven by the straightforward, martial drumming of Riccardo Cascone. His relatively simple, yet effective and forceful, beats shift up and down the gears as the speed of the song requires and fit the battle-themed music like a glove.
This performance typifies the meat-and-potatoes approach Noble Savage take to metal, hard-hitting and straight to the point. The only really flamboyant aspect of the CD is the lead playing. Guitarists Giuseppe Seminara and Luca Camione really let rip on occasion, with the lengthy solo section in "Wind of victory" is particularly inspired. Vocalist Alfonso Giordano, on the other hand, is a much earthier component of the band – his slightly gruff mid-range and vibrato wails suit the style down to the ground. Technically he is an unspectacular singer, but what he lacks in range he makes up for in the forcefulness of his delivery. Whether or not the listener is likely to appreciate his style will depend on how they take to a vocalist with a strong Italian accent. His voice is likely to be the most divisive aspect among listeners, but it can be assured that fans of other Italian true metal bands like Holy Martyr will be won over.
Occasional keyboard flourishes provide an extra hint of flavour, and are used subtly and tastefully enough to compliment the songs without ever getting in the way. Also in this vein, there are 2 interlude tracks, with 'The empire' being a rousing segue that builds perfectly to the CD's masterful centerpiece "Time to kill", a song of contrasting tempos that makes for a stirring battle hymn.
While not a perfect CD – not all of the songs carry the same clout as the real stand-outs – 'Killing for glory' is a most satisfactory debut from a promising band. Giordano and Cascone have unfortunately left their posts in Noble Savage in recent months, and one can only hope that their loss does not destabilise the progress that should be made from here, as anything other than a fantastic 2nd CD will now have to be looked on as a disappointment following this brilliant first strike.
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