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SAVAGE GRACE- Master of Disguise LP (Black Dragon Records, France, 1985)

IMG_0436IMG_0437I promised TOTAL METAL and here it is, right from the boulevards of Beverly Hills: SAVAGE GRACE for many were one of the heaviest bands of the 83 Metal explosion. The band’s debut, the awesome and totally, criminally underrated “Dominatress” 12″EP was one of these pearls I couldn’t get off my turntable for weeks and weeks. For a 1983 record, it was as new and fresh as releases from bands that would get bigger and bigger, like Slayer or Metallica. Back then, I didn’t see a reason why SAVAGE GRACE’s legacy once in the future shouldn’t be acknowledged as enthusiastically as that of those of other bands. But history is cold and merciless, so today, SAVAGE GRACE are another one in the legion of groups who’re tagged with the not very flattering “cult band”-label.

This is the band’s first full length LP, released two years after the EP. When this came out, I wasn’t so deeply into Metal anymore, but I remember very well how blown away everybody was. From start to finish “Master of Disguise” hits you like a freight train, despite the rather dull production. The overall speed and overwroughtness of this LP is breathtaking. Whenever I play this through, I feel exhausted when it’s over, so tense, tight, fast and full of hooks and melodies it is. What a crazy, crazy record! It’s often labeled a Speed Metal album, but I don’t find this appropriate. It’s sped up Power Metal, that’s what it is (and now don’t ask me what the difference ‘tween sped up Power Metal and Speed Metal is, cause I really don’t know).

All rips of this album I heard so far sounded like shit. This should replace them all. In Germany, this LP was put on the index because of the cover, by the way. The rare and graphically more explicit picture disc version got confiscated by the customs when my record shop ordered a bunch from Important Records.

Download “Master of Disguise” here (.zip file). To my knowledge, it’s never been officially re-released since the euro license pressing on Black Dragon Records which came out shortly after the original version.

27 Comments

  1. Dave G

    I know I passed this one up many times based on the album cover alone lol

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Sep-09 at 20:43 | Permalink
  2. Par

    F-U-C-K-I-N-G great stuff!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Sep-09 at 20:46 | Permalink
  3. Francis 666

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! more metal please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Sep-09 at 20:54 | Permalink
  4. Jerry B

    “The rare and graphically more explicit picture disc version got confiscated by the customs when my record shop ordered a bunch from Important Records.”

    welcome to switzerland I guess

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Sep-09 at 21:43 | Permalink
  5. Glenn

    It sounds as if Paul Dianno and Kurt Vanderhoof formed a band by modeling the music on the first two Iron Maiden albums…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Sep-09 at 22:20 | Permalink
  6. What's the Truth?

    THANK YOU!! You are a great man. Every rip I’ve ever heard of this album has been absolute garbage in the sound quality department, even after I’d searched for different rips and versions for some years now…this record always deserved more.

    TOTAL METAL indeed; from the Iron Maiden-ripoff intro Lion’s Roar to the ridiculous drumming that opens Master of Disguise (and I guess is present through the rest of the album.)

    And thank you again!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Sep-09 at 22:25 | Permalink
  7. oldthrasher

    I was listening to it just a few days ago. The Greek bootleg cd has a terrible sound, sure, and this is where all the rips floating on the net come from. Those (and you know who they are) who made it simply transferred the vinyl on Cd with cracks, pops, hisses and all the rest instead of bootlegging the original BD cd. I have the original Black Dragon cd (that is fu**g rare) that has a perfect sound, being transferred from the original master tapes. I wonder why the Greek bootleggers didn’t use the original Black Dragon cd as master source, but rather, used a poor vinyl rip. Perhaps they couldn’t afford the original haha..
    However, even the original Black Dragon version has some mixing flaws: for example in the song “No one left to blame” the last minute has a lower volume: all the instruments get lowered in the mix. If you listen to the whole album carefully you can hear many mixing mistakes: instruments (especially drumming) that go up and down, vocals a little bit muffled at times.. However, a great album indeed. This and the first Agent Steel have been my favorites for years. Pity that the follow up, “After the fall from Grace” isn’t as fresh and powerful as the debut. I never liked it, but this “Master..” remains a monument of US Metal. Those buzzing guitars and the demo-like prouduction make this album PERFECT and i mean P-E-R-F-E-C-T

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 06:09 | Permalink
  8. oldthrasher

    it seems that they are reformed. The last news i had from the band were that the singer was jailed for a number of crimes…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 06:11 | Permalink
  9. Thanks for the info oldthrasher! now, although my rip is a vinyl rip, how does it sound compared to that official cd? I tried my best to adjust the levels: it always gives a nice insight into things when you transfer a recording and then look at the “waves” in your software (I use audacity). I could see that the recording is so poorly mastered that single drum beats stick out like mountains. I think the overall production incl. engineering must have been really hastily done. but yeah, as you said – that gives the great demo sound and that is wonderful!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 07:55 | Permalink
  10. Nikolas

    Wicked stuff… Raw and quick, as power (or speed if you like) metal should be….
    This post reminds me all the other great Black Dragon releases…. Yeah thanks Admin, once again……. Never listened to this before….

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 08:48 | Permalink
  11. hörsth

    a prime example of creating speed by letting the tape run faster- I always wonder what the bands made of it..

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 14:11 | Permalink
  12. This recording has not been manipulated, no way. Metal bands simply got their shit together, that’s it.
    check this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SYCIZ6Vy98

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 15:10 | Permalink
  13. oldthrasher

    it sounds well! “warmer” than the cd. The official cd has the a flat sound, typical of the early 80s cd (remember how the early SPV cd sounded like?). It’s a pity that this album has never been officially re-released. I spoke to the guy behind Black Dragon and he said they have no more the copyrights. I am crazy for the guitar sound and drumming on this Lp. reminds me of Slayer’s “Show No mercy”. And the drumming? the metal version of the Wretched drumming? haha, perhaps not that bad, but come on, that’s REAL speed. You want to compare it with the modern triggering? No way…
    When i first got a dubbed tape of this album i thought the guy who ripped it slowed down the tape speed so that the resulting sound was unnaturally too fast, but it’s ACTUALLY the right speed.. unbelievable..
    Yeah, most of the early Black Dragon releases slay. That’s what US metal was meant to be. And the cover? a touch of genius.. By the way, there are 2 different covers of this album, both with our pervert cop in not-so-decent pose…
    “By the day i’m the law and the right”…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 15:36 | Permalink
  14. Allan Jones

    Hilariously kitsch and cheesy. Aesthetically (The band members themselves and the sleeve) it’s so ridiculous it makes it funny. I always loved looking at metal records sleeves. It’s always good for a laugh. Even “Slayer” looked like a bunch of bozos on the back cover of the “Show no mercy” album. “King Diamond” is incredibly hilarious too. What about “Angus Young”? Still dressing like a school boy after over 30 years of touring and at 50+ years old. Kinda pathetic! But like i said, all this is really funny.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 16:47 | Permalink
  15. Allan Jones

    And, that singer voice is so annoying and wimpy. I always hated that style of singing. Too cheesy.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 16:52 | Permalink
  16. But that’s what Metal is all about, Allan.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 17:38 | Permalink
  17. oldthrasher

    Then Allan deserves a good does of The Lord Of the Crimson Alliance… the cheesiest of the cheesiest…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 18:27 | Permalink
  18. Par

    Thank satan that metal band always (well almost) could (can) handle thier instruments.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 18:32 | Permalink
  19. Par

    I totally love The Lord Of the Crimson Alliance, epic and fantastic. Allan probably couldn´t handle it toughness!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 18:58 | Permalink
  20. One of the best metal LPs ever – in any subgenre of metal. Everything about it is perfect, relentless delivery from start to finish, amazing songwriting, great raw production… Never fails to get me pumped!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Sep-09 at 19:05 | Permalink
  21. rager

    Absolutely (almost) flawless material…. make sure to check the upcoming huge feature in the next Snakepit with Dwight, Kelly, Chris, Brian and Mark!!
    there’s gonna have an incredible piece of music as bonus with it…again!

    SAVAGE GRACE RULES!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 27-Sep-09 at 19:45 | Permalink
  22. Martinator

    One of the few albums of the day that still deserve the recognition it got back then (album of the month in Aardschok). With the awesome guitar work and Dan Finch’s unbelievable drumming, this still gets my aging neck muscles going! I have the pic disc (we’re a little more relaxed in Holland), both the US and Black Dragon vinyl, and two versions of the Black Dragon CD, as well as the pics I shot at both shows in the Scum club here in Holland. Fond memories, which is why I’m hesitant to go watch them at Keep It True next year…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Oct-09 at 20:10 | Permalink
  23. chipman13

    thanks for the post. I have the vinyl but no way to rip. mark is a good friend of mine. I’ve pissed myself laughing at stories he’s told me about SG. rocking stuff.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 27-Oct-09 at 06:36 | Permalink
  24. HeavyGabry

    Great job guys!
    Keep on this way!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 05-Nov-09 at 22:25 | Permalink
  25. beeblebrox

    That is Blondie Bee on the cover! The hottest pornstar ever! Some kickass selections on this blog. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 02-Feb-10 at 04:41 | Permalink
  26. Coen

    Erich, do you still have that Vinyl rip somewhere?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-Apr-13 at 15:05 | Permalink
  27. oldschoolheadbanger

    Hello,
    Can you re up vinyl rip, please?

    Thanks in advance !!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 03-Nov-14 at 13:22 | Permalink

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