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Savage Messiah interview: Silver illuminates on 'The Fateful Dark'

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Dave Silver and Savage Messiah have been silently creeping up on metal fans the last half decade or so, and 2012′s “Plague of Conscience” marked a huge leap for the band in terms of getting its music embedded into thousands of new craniums. The band’s third full length effort, “The Fateful Dark” is built to bring even more new fans to the fold. This week, founder, guitarist and singer Dave Silver took time to bring The Examiner up to speed on the new record and all things Savage Messiah. “The Fateful Dark” releases through Century Media/Earache Records on March 18.

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Dave – It has been a long time since we last spoke. Back in the ‘Spitting Venom’ days if memory serves. I hope all has been well with you.

That is a long time ago! Over 6 years now! All is well here in England, we’ve been working hard and getting the band out there and now we’re starting to see some momentum, so all in all we’re pretty psyched right now!

Savage Messiah is getting ready to release its fourth studio album, ‘The Fateful Dark’. You are still with Earache but it’s now tied to Century Media. That’s a big jump for the band. How has that helped the band so far?

Technically this is our third album. ‘Spitting Venom’ was a self-financed/self-released EP, so we don’t consider it to be part of our catalog in the same way as an album. Century Media have been great so far, it’s definitely a big step in terms of promotion and distribution, and we’re working hard on trying to bring the band stateside. Our touring spectrum is slowly expanding, country by country, so I’m hopeful that we will soon bring our show to the USA.

This marks the first album with new drummer Andrea Gorio from Cadaveric Crematorium and BlackAge. Another Italian. You now have an all Italiano rhythm section. How did he come to join the band and how did he impact the new record?

He came through our bassist, they’d played together in a Kamelot tribute band, and when our last drummer ran into some visa problems, which basically made it impossible for us to continue working together, Andrea stepped up and has been kicking ass ever since. He brought a lot to the album and the writing process– he’s a very solid drummer, tight and powerful, and he’s given the band a good engine.

You did much of the work on the early records yourself. Does it feel like Savage Messiah is finally becoming a true band rather than just an extension of you?

Absolutely, which was always my intention. I’ve never wanted to be a kind of Jon Schaffer, Jeff Waters kind of band leader. Even though I am a massive fan of those guys and their work and I have nothing but respect for them, I always wanted to be in a “band” rather than be a solo guy with a constantly changing line-up. It can be difficult with a band at our level though to maintain that, and of course as we grow and get better, it’s important that we as individuals don’t take our eye off the ball and keep working hard on our craft. We’ve been doing ok since ‘Plague of Conscience’ though– we’ve built a very solid core, creatively and in every respect.

‘The Fateful Dark’ feels to me like the most cohesive Savage Messiah album to date. It feels like everything fell into line in just the right way.

The writing process was very old school, 4 guys in a rehearsal room playing metal sort of thing. This, I think, is what has allowed us to create that cohesion, on top of maturing musicianship-songwriting etc… One of our main goals when writing this record was to come up with a bad ass heavy metal record complete with big riffs, big choruses and loads of cool guitar playing. We also went through a really cool period of rediscovery, listening to all the bands we got into when we were first starting out in bands, which contributed to the overall energy of the project.

You’ve said this album is quite different from the last two, in what way, and what can listeners expect? To me it has a very live feel.

With our first album ‘Insurrection Rising’, we had a lot of issues recording it. We started with one producer working in one way, and it really didn’t work out how we wanted it to (which was the fault of the band mainly, and not really aided by the producer’s methods). So we took the record to Scott and he had to program all the drums, and we had to re-track the guitars and everything, so it was a real Frankenstein effort. ‘Plague of Conscience’ came along and it was a bit easier than ‘Insurrection’, but we still had tons of problems making the album, particularly with the drums– the editing was severe and the performances were overly complicated for the songs, so the whole thing feels very cluttered. The new album by comparison was plain sailing, we wrote and rehearsed songs, got in the studio and tracked the drums with everyone playing live. There are literally hardly any drum edits on this album, so what you have is the real energy of a human being playing their instrument, being pushed to the limit to try and get amazing performances for each song.

You went with Scott Atkins again to produce. What is it about that relationship that works so well?

Scott’s a great guy, very honest, down to earth and sympathetic to the band. There was no one else we even considered to be honest.

Tell us a bit about the artwork. Peter Sallai did an amazing job. Did he have any guidance from you on what you wanted or was he given free reign? He did the last record too, and he kept with the character theme.

We worked with Peter on the last album and I think he came up with a really killer character, so we decided to run with that character and keep the theme for this record. I tend to take the view that I’m a guitarist not an artist, so I don’t really have much of an authority when it comes to telling the artist what to do. So basically, we just said, “We want something with that pope character in it, go crazy!” And we were really pleased with the result.

There is usually a lot going on with your lyrics. What did you tap into for inspiration on this record?

I wanted to diversify a bit for this record, because I was just feeling that the whole sociopolitical thing was done and boring. So I looked at loads of cool stuff, comic books, Japanese proverbs, history, etc… As always though, I like to keep things a bit ambiguous, so that our listeners can interpret stuff as they see fit.

You’ve called “Minority of One” perhaps your favorite Savage Messiah song to date. Why? And how can one be “resolute in objective truth”?

I just liked how it came about, because the original version that we had rehearsed was completely different, and when Scott heard it, he pulled it apart and we had a moment of crisis– we wondered what we were going to do. However, we pulled out some old unfinished ideas and the whole thing just fell together. What I’m talking about is really just honesty, and accepting things as they are and not how you might want them to be.

You just finished up at NAMM. What was that experience like?

NAMM was great! I’m a big fan of the USA in general, so any chance I get to visit is always a welcome one. I particularly like California as I have some family living up in Sacramento, and some old friends currently living in LA, so it’s always a lot of fun being in that part of the world.

Give us 3 albums (any genre) that changed your life.

Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Genesis – Selling England by the Pound
Judas Priest – Painkiller

Pointless question of the week: What is your favorite comfort food?

Double chocolate chip cookies!!! I could literally eat a whole pack to myself!

Dave – Thanks for taking the time to catch us up. Hopefully we’ll connect when you hit U.S. soil again. ‘The Fateful Dark’ is your best album yet and we wish you great success with its release.

Thank you! And a massive Savage thanks to all your readers! Stay safe \m/

Check out the new video for the track "Hellblazer" above.

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