Savage Master’s third album, Myth, Magic, and Steel retains the Louisville group’s rough and tumble attitude, but there have been noticeable tweaks this time around. The production is noticeably beefier than the grainy mixes of past releases, allowing for punchier drumming and giving the guitars even more fire. The vocals remain upfront in the mix though, with an extra hint of reverb that makes the lovably atonal shrieks more palatable and preserves the band’s VHS metal aesthetic.
There is also a little more variety than usual as the band finds ways to expand their bag of tricks. “The Owl” and “High Priestess” are solid mid-tempo ventures, the latter standing out thanks to its bellowed chorus, and “Lady of Steel” is a fun romp thanks to the surprise cameos by Lady Beast’s Deborah Lavine and Sacred Few’s Sandy Krueger. But the album’s biggest curveball comes with the closing “Warrior vs Dragon.” In addition to a title that screams pay-per-view wrestling, the cycle from doomy beginnings to fast climax and acoustic finish makes the most of that eight-minute runtime. It risks redundancy in light of the other tracks’ snappier runtimes but ultimately helps give the album some extra dimension.
But at its core, Myth, Magic, and Steel is all about delivering the catchy anthems that Savage Master has come to be known for. The opening title track and “The Devil’s Ecstasy” don’t waste time in that regard, the former charging into a live-ready breakdown and the latter going even further into all-out speed metal with blistering guitars and bass to boot. “Flyer in the Night” is more subtle and almost easygoing in comparison but wins out with its breezy, upbeat hook.
Overall, Savage Master’s third album allows for some growth without altering the classic metal formula too drastically. 2016’s With Whips and Chains may edge it out in terms of concentrated catchiness, but the upgraded production values and more varied songwriting may be a better entry point for first-time listeners. They may not be the most unique band in the revivalist movement, but they are one of the most fun on stage and on record.
“Myth, Magic, and Steel”
“The Devil’s Ecstasy”
“Flyer in the Night”
“Warrior vs Dragon”