Master Of Disguise/The Dominatress & After The Fall From Grace/Ride Into The Night

Savage Grace

***These four releases are sold in couples (the "Master Of Disguise/The Dominatress"CD has bonus demo […]
By Grigoris Chronis
May 9, 2010
Savage Grace - Master Of Disguise/The Dominatress & After The Fall From Grace/Ride Into The Night album cover

***These four releases are sold in couples (the "Master Of Disguise/The Dominatress"CD has bonus demo tracks and the "After The Fall From Grace/Ride Into The Night" CD has bonus live tracks); they are 'combined' here so as to have a more integrated review***


Remember the first times you were doing a research 'bout the first layer of obscure stuff from the classic US Metal of the 80s? Yes, it was the time you were familiar enough with MANOWAR and ARMORED SAINT and wanted to learn more and more on the typical heavy/power/epic/speed Metal bands America hosted back then? This was the time you first read about OMEN, MANILLA ROAD, HELSTAR, HEIR APPARENT and LIEGE LORD but it was quite early to search further for obscurities like e.g. MEDIEVAL STEEL, OVERLORDE or HEATHEN'S RAGE. Well, you definitely had to come across the SAVAGE GRACE logo, right?

This band from Los Angeles, California chose a different musical path to follow in its beginning, distancing themselves from the 'hair' Metal tornado raising hell in Sunset Strip. Their original name was MARQUIS DE SADE and initially appeared as SAVAGE GRACE in the legendary "Metal Massacre II" (1982) compilation with the song "Scepters Of Deceit". Lovers of the ruthless heavy/power/speed Metal, the Christian Logue-centered band originally also featured OMEN axeman Kenny Powell and in their short-lived career recorded two full LPs and two EPs receiving some cult status in America and Europe (where their name still lives on in the 'true Metal' circles) but soon already parted ways with any possibility for a commercial breakthrough.

One of the very early names in the Metal Blade Records roster, SAVAGE GRACE sounded as you would expect back in those days. Primal yet efficient, pounding while being lyrical enough, the band showed its teeth in the guitars section but had enough trouble finding a good 'hook' refrain most of the time. In brief:

"The Dominatress" (EP - 1983): SAVAGE GRACE here cut its teeth in confusion and you can listen to heavy/speed Metal ("Fight For Your Life", "The Dominatress") boiled with LIZZY BORDEN/DOKKEN-ish harmonies ("Curse The Night", "Live To Burn"). It's my favorite S.G. release primarily due to its raw novelty and candor. Kenny Powell is included in this lineup and is bonus pleasure. The performance, yet, is quite amateur for 'polished' likes and you should give it a first listen before proceeding to checkout.

"Master of Disguise" (LP - 1985): The relentless pounding in the "Lions Roar" intro speaks for the whole album. SAVAGE GRACE here decides they want to focus on the vicious side of Speed/Power Metal and "Bound To Be Free" is one of the most comprehensive songs they ever wrote. Nonstop banging ("No One Left To Blame") with melodic pieces here and there ("Betrayer") added to the ruthless spine. The guitars spit fire ("Sins Of The Damned"), some leads are impressive ("Fear My Way"), the drums strike hard ("Master Of Disguise") - even if accuracy is not the band's lethal weapon ("Sons Of Iniquity") - and the whole album is done to a turn for the likes of roadracin' barbaric Metal warriors. This is said to be SAVAGE GRACE's 'crème de la crème' offering and I would not defy such a verdict.

"After The Fall From Grace" (LP - 1986): this could have been the band's breakthrough to some wider audience but things did not work properly I'm afraid. I love the production in this LP, it's ultra-live and brings on the metallic identity of SAVAGE GRACE. The tracklist, in addition, guarantees total certitude. There are some landmark US Metal tracks here like "We Came, We Saw, We Conquered", "After The Fall From Grace", "Trial By Fire", "Age Of Innocence" and "Flesh And Blood". The general performance/style of the musicians is as witnessed in the predecessor LP, the vocals of Christian Logue are more controlled in favor of the songs' outlook level and some guitar leads or licks are still thunderous. If I had to pick one of this release or the "Master Of Disguise" album, though, I'd prefer the 1985 full-length debut due to its more concrete and traditional Metal aspect.

"Ride Into The Night" (EP - 1987): I think of this mini LP as the weakest moment in SAVAGE GRACE's career. It's not that the songs featured here (well, the three of them) are pale, hence not worth your attention, but the sound is quite fuzzy and the overall vibe of the original vinyl (cut to picture disc) does not seem capable of sending shivers down your spine. The "Burn" remake is bad, in addition. I'd vote for the same titled tune if pushed to.

SAVAGE GRACE is the case of band that you'll probably see reuniting in fests like Germany's Keep It True or Greece's 'Up The Hammers' (well, they played in Greece a couple of months ago and are involved in the 2010 KIT installment...) and will surely feed your hunger for uncompromising Power/Speed Metal the 80s American way. Their inspiration may derive from legends such as JUDAS PRIEST or RAINBOW but anno 1982/1983 this specific metallized blend was not a status so they can be proud enough to be pronounced as original keepers of their sound. If the names mentioned in the introductory paragraph did not shake your brains, though, this Californian band shall probably act more like a thorn in your flesh.

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"Master Of Disguise/The Dominatress & After The Fall From Grace/Ride Into The Night" Track-listing:

"Master Of Disguise/The Dominatress":

  1. Lions Roar
  2. Bound To Be Free
  3. Fear My
  4. Sins Of The Damned
  5. Into The Fire
  6. Master Of Disguise
  7. Betrayer
  8. Sons Of Iniquity
  9. No One Left To Blame
  10. Fight For Your Life
  11. Curse The Night
  12. The Dominatress
  13. Live To Burn
  14. Too Young To Die
  15. Scepters Of Deceit (Demo '82)
  16. Curse Of The Night (Demo '82)
  17. Genghis Khan (Demo '82)
  18. No One Left To Blame (Demo '84)

"After The Fall From Grace/Ride Into The Night":

  1. Call To Arms
  2. We Came, We Saw, We Conquered
  3. After The Fall From Grace
  4. Trial By Fire
  5. Palestinia
  6. Age Of Innocence
  7. Flesh And Blood
  8. Destination Unknown
  9. Tales Of Mystery
  10. Ride Into The Night
  11. We March On
  12. The Healing Hand
  13. Burn
  14. Mainline Lover
  15. Bare Bottom Blues (Live)
  16. Such A Dirty Mind (Live)
Savage Grace Lineup:


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