Now in their tenth year, London’s Savage Messiah have steadily built a loyal following and a firm reputation as one of the UK’s top up and coming metal bands. Aside from well received albums and live slots, they were also nominated for Metal Hammer magazine’s best new band in 2014. Continuing their work with long time producer Scott Atkins, the band decided to create an album with more of an anthemic song based structure, pulling in influences from bands who have themselves created landmark works. The resultant ten songs on “Hands Of Fate” definitely reflect a band with a new found focus and fire.

The opening creep of title track “Hands Of Fate” builds into some rich, big riffs. The melody and groove is what is most striking at first. There’s an undeniably classic feel and this comes as no surprise as the first few tracks unfold. With shades of Metallica’s Black Album showing in the chug of the riffs, the larger than life production gives these tracks breadth. Throughout this opening salvo, that influence is flecked with post 2000 era Iron Maiden melodrama. Best displayed on “Blood Red Road”, the dynamic bursts and huge, made for arena choruses are punctuated by some searing lead guitar work courtesy of David Silver and Sam S Junior. Indeed, Silver’s lead vocals also show a control and command, sitting atop songs that feel custom made for bigger audiences.

Towards the album’s middle section, a bit more snarl comes into play. Hints of Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” album can be found on “Solar Corona” and “Eat Your Heart Out” where more urgency and aggression start to show. There’s a propulsive feel that is attention grabbing at times courtesy of the taut rhythm section of Mira Slama on bass and Andrea Gorio on drums. While these ears would like more of the same at this stage, next track “Fearless” has a slightly 80’s power ballad feel that comes across as a little dated; of the slower, more reflective tracks “Last Confession” is the stronger, delivered with that Metallica styled thud that could be the band’s own “Unforgiven”. “The Crucible” and “Out Of Time” bring all those influential components together neatly to close out the album but lack a little of the exuberance from earlier.

With ten tracks and only one breaching the five minute mark, this album is a very focussed affair with one eye on the prize; it’s a contemporary, polished work where the main strengths lie in those first six tracks where you want to raise your fists in the air and become part of those anthems. “Hand Of Fate” has the feel of a band growing and coming of age, learning from the past and not afraid to look forward.

(7/10 Johnny Zed)