As many unsung heroes are hosted here in this column, we couldn’t just leave out from this fine gathering, the mighty Savage. While we been mentioned so many times the love we have for N.W.O.B.H.M. and thrash as genres, still we haven’t written many stories behind proto thrash or N.W.O.B.H.M. on 45rpm albums. “Loose ‘n Lethal” is one of those pioneers of extreme music that only a few remembers it as something more than a typical release of its time and genre. Probably due to the nature o extreme sound and it’s rapidly changing environment the bands that played a bit faster than the usual in the early 80’s never capitalized their pattern as the younger bands across the Atlantic took over with their aggressive style and manners. Think of Raven, Jaguar, Atomkraft and Savage, as only Venom (that was never actually a part of N.W.O.B.H.M. movement after all) capitalized their speedy way of playing, and you‘ll get what I mean. Savage had some speedy songs but as genuine teens that musically came of age in the 70’s were no one track mind guys and tried to have not only fast, but mid tempo songs too, filled with melodic riffs in their guitar driven sound in the veins of Scorpions and U.F.O. Of course they were true rockers and their songs were full of testosterone and caused adrenaline explosion.

Savage was formed in Mansfield, U.K., in 1976 by 16-year-old Chris Bradley on bass, Chris Gent behind mic, Lee Statham on guitars and Mick Percival on drums, but after only one official concert, they disbanded and was re-formed in 1978 by Bradley, Andy Bradbury on guitar, Simon Dawson on drums and his 15-year-old brother Andy Dawson on guitar. Line-up issues continued as Wayne Renshaw replaced Andy Bradbury, and Dave Lindley replaced Simon Dawson. This lineup recorded ‘Let it Loose’ (in 1981 for their first demo tape), and appeared in compilation albums ‘Scene of the Crime’ (1981) and ‘Metal Fatigue’ (1982) and also the double A-side single ‘Aint No Fit Place’/’The China Run’. Mark Brown replaced after a while Lindley.

Their debut album, ‘Loose ‘N Lethal’ was released in 1983. It starts emphatically with its fastest tune, “Let It Loose” that is gets you from the throat. This is their most popular song, as it is the one that Ulrich picked for his band to cover it. “Cry Wolf” continues with its masculine riffs and mid tempo galloping rhythm. Raw sound and pure NWOBHM is what you get on “Berlin”, the third song of the album, too. While the vocal lines isn’t something extra ordinary, still it fits like a glove with the rough melodies and the whole attitude of the band. More razor sharp riffs and macho guitars and lyrics on “Dirty Money”, before we take a break and a deep breath with “Ain’t No Fit Place” that slows down to a more Priest-like composition. “On The Rocks” is a Michael Schenker era Scorpions song that magnetizes you with its catchy vibe and leads to the best track of the album, “China Run” (and one of my wives favorites) that has a simple structure and the typical galloping riffs, but it is an excellent example of brilliant straightforward heavy metal formula. While the album ends -with no filler on its track listing- once again with another Priest-like mid paced rocker, entitled “White Hot”.

Due to a lack of support from management or record company this gem is totally underrated. Savage continued to make the one mistake after the other and in 1984 decided to leave Ebony Records and signed to a new label, Zebra Records. At the end of the year they issued their first release for Zebra, the 12″ EP “We Got the Edge”. This was followed their sophomore studio album “Hyperactive”, that gained some great reviews and that was it. A couple of years later (1986) Savage split-up for 8-9 years before resurrected in 1995 releasing their third album “Holy Wars”. Albums followed in 1998, “Babylon”, and 2000, “Xtreme Machine”. The band was almost dead for a decade while suddenly resurfaced in 2011 with a new album “Sons of Malice”, with the lineup featuring: Chris Bradley on vocals and bass, Andy Dawson and Kris Bradley (Chris’s son and Andy’s nephew) on guitars and Mark Nelson on drums. Their last full length effort “7”came out via Minus2Zebra on October 2015.