"I really like Megadeth, but..." Savage Messiah’s Dave Silver talks in his own voice to Metal as Fuck

He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy. Actually, Dave Silver could be both.

‘The one thing that’s let the band down in the past is this constant comparison to Megadeth.’ Savage Messiah are a very talented bunch. Chiefly guitarist and lead singer Dave Silver, a man flattered by comparisons to Mr Mustaine’s crew but would rather people respected his band for their own merits. Their latest album, the monstrous Plague of Conscience, moves away from the straight thrash of their first two albums and demonstrates a more mature and far more skilled band. Fans have reacted in kind: ‘So far the reaction in the UK and in (mainland) Europe and in America, it’s been great.’

Plague of Conscience is the bands first release since their switch to Earache Records, who took the decision to release it as a free download. After three years of waiting to record a new album, which Silver himself admits was ‘too long,’ it was the swift kick up the arse that the band required to get things moving. Don’t tell Lars Ulrich but Silver agreed with his record label – giving it away was a good idea, helping Savage Messiah’s music reach ‘a broader amount of people in a short space of time’. At the last count, Silver tells me, over  ‘20,000 people had downloaded it, which, in the amount of time it’s been available we would not have sold that many albums. So in terms of numbers and getting people into it, that’s a decent amount.’

On Plague of Conscience, the band brought in ex-(English Hardcore band) Stampin’ Ground guitarist Scott Atkins whose stunning production has helped elevate Savage Messiah from metal maybes to thrash titans. ‘Scott’s a really good producer and he’s got a great knowledge of metal,’ Silver states sincerely before memories of the hard recording slog came to mind. ‘He won’t accept anything other than what he considers to be killer.’ Atkins’ work mantra was simple: no pain, no gain. ‘It was actually really difficult making it. Recording it was horrendous, so hard. Scott is a slave driver, a real hardcore producer, and there were days when I was thinking, ‘We’re never going to finish this, ever!’ To actually have a final copy, I can just sit back and listen to it and think, ‘Yeah, I’m really pleased with it.’’

Silver is right to be happy with the final result. The playing and writing is of a higher standard than the band’s last release, 2009’s Insurrection Rising. Full of guitar riffs that could raze a mountain to its foothills and hooks that could snare a shark, Plague... is already likely to be in contention for those end-of-year-best-of-lists that the likes of this very hack put together. Getting to this level of sheer talent (the band, not me) has been a slow but sure process. In the five years of its life Savage Messiah has, with the exception of its talented frontman, been through many line up changes. Silver explains: ‘Those changes didn’t happen all at once, it happened over the space of two years with people going. We actually ended up with a much stronger band.’

Wisely Dave Silver used this improvement in personnel to distance the band from those comparisons. The writing and playing has improved and there is a noticeable change in Silver’s voice, the main point of contention. ‘I worked really hard on the vocals,’ Silver says. ‘I was keen to because if anything the one thing that’s let the band down in the past is this constant comparison to Megadeth and that’s always come through the vocals. I really like Megadeth but...you have to try and find your own identity.’

Late last year Savage Messiah took to the road in the UK with Earache Records buddies Evile. It was a fantastic bill and the show I saw convinced me Silver and company were destined for better things. The rest of the crowd noisily agreed with me, but, I ask Silver, how was that tour for the band? ‘It was great! That was our first tour of this line up so it was really good,’ he remembers. ‘It was tough, we were sleeping in the van and stuff, we were having to make those sort of sacrifices, but it was great because we all pulled in together and got the job done.’

The UK has felt the might of the Savage Messiah, but what about our fellow metal heads in Australia, you must relish the thought of playing to them? ‘Absolutely, yeah. I think there’s a lot of bands from this hemisphere making it down there now...yeah, it’d be a trip. 24-hours in an aeroplane, that doesn’t sound very appealing, but I think it would be worth it,’ Silver laughs. Finally I ask Silver if he has a message for our Australian Metal as Fuck readers. ‘I hope you like (the new album) and I hope to see you down under. If we do, come to the gig and drink some schooners with us. Or whatever the measurement is in Australia.’ Savage Messiah: getting the beers in.