Under A Savage Sky Guardians of the Flame - Under A Savage Sky (Cult Metal Classics) 2003

1. "The Flame That Never Dies" (5:09)
2. "Conspiratos Sanctos" (6:13)
3. "Cry For Dawn" (5:39)
4. "Anthem For The Nations" [instrumental] (6:00)
5. "Sharon Of The Woods" (6:59)
6. "Under A Savage Sky" (3:59)
7. "I Stand Alone" (8:31)
8. "Personal Demons Dethroned" (5:02)
9. "Masters Of Fate" (8:07)
10. "Return From The Ashes" (2:30)

I became a Jack Star fan back in the day when I purchased Virgin Steele's "Guardians of the Flame" as a new release. He is also known from the Burning Starr project. Having separated himself from Virgin Steele after only two releases, I suppose that Jack wanted to build on the momentum that he had built up with that band so he formed Jack Starr's Guardians Of The Flame with Raven's Joe Hasselvander. The album opens with a short intro before breaking into a heavy/epic song titled "The Flame That Never Dies" This track contains an incredibly heavy riff and a shredding solos from Jack. The follow up is a bit slower and more melodic, but still heavy. "Cry For Dawn" continues with the galloping, double bass asault, classic metal sound. "Anthem For The Nations" is an instrumental masterpiece that is quite lengthy yet never dull or boring. For some reason this track reminded me of old MSG a bit. "Sharon of the Woods" is an epic number that should please fans of classic metal as well as modern power metal fans. The riff has a rapid fire guitar riff that borders on classic thrash metal, although the galloping bass and drums keep it squarely in the classic metal mold."Under A Savage Sky" has some nice guitar work going on. "I Stand Alone" begins to feel a bit too long. This song clocks in at over eight minutes in length and doesn't seem to have enough going on to keep it interesting for us attention deficit disorder types, although I did sort of enjoy the extended guitar jams at the middle and end of the song. I suppose this just isn't the most memorable song on the disc. "Personal Demons Dethroned" is an intensely personal song with yet another galloping, classic metal riff. This song borders on being a ballad, but isn't really the sappy, radio stuff that the word 'ballad' usually means. "Master Of Fate" is another epic length number like "I Stand Alone", but I found this song to be much more enjoyable. It features a mid-paced groove and heavy riffs. The disc finishes off with a short instrumental giving Jack Starr a last chance to show off his stuff. Fans of "Guardians of the Flame" era Virgin Steele, or quality, classic heavy metal should look into this underground platter. It's sure to please the galloping, fist-pumping, headbanger in all. (thanks James)

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