SAVATAGE — Hall Of The Mountain King — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

SAVATAGE - Hall Of The Mountain King cover
3.99 | 52 ratings | 8 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Album · 1987

Filed under US Power Metal


1. 24 Hrs. Ago (4:55)
2. Beyond The Doors Of The Dark (5:08)
3. Legions (4:50)
4. Strange Wings (3:45)
5. Prelude To Madness (3:13)
6. Hall Of The Mountain King (5:33)
7. The Price You Pay (3:51)
8. White Witch (3:21)
9. Last Dawn (1:08)
10. Devastation (3:37)

Total Time: 39:26


- Jon Oliva / vocals, piano
- Criss Oliva / guitars, backing vocals
- Johnny Lee Middleton / bass, backing vocals
- Steve Wacholz / drums, percussion

About this release

Released date: September 28, 1987
Label: Atlantic Records

Reissued in 1997 by Edel with the following bonus track:

11. Stay (2:48)

Reissued in 2002 by SPV with the following bonus tracks:

11. Hall Of The Montain King (live) (6:00)
12. Devastation (live)

Reissued and remastered in 2011 by Ear Music with the following bonus tracks:

11. Castles Burning (acoustic version, 2010) (4:04)
12. Somewhere In Time / Alone You Breathe (acoustic version) (4:39)

Thanks to J-Man, progshine, Lynx33, adg211288, Unitron, 666sharon666 for the updates


More places to buy metal & SAVATAGE music

  • CDUniverse - Specializing in the sale of domestic and imported music CDs and Imports


Specialists/collaborators reviews

Welcome back boys! After the disaster that was 'Fight for the Rock', Savatage's brief foray into adult-oriented rock (forced upon them by their label), the band rebound with an album that puts them back on track, and has gone on to be regarded as one of their most beloved releases, and certainly one that would maintain their upward momentum as a string of successful records would follow.

With the group going back to their heavier roots, there's a strong emphasis on fast, energetic guitar riffs, with early hints of the more classical-inspired sound that the band would adopt on later, more ambitious releases. Criss Oliva's blistering guitar work is second-to-none, and his brother, vocalist Jon Oliva's voice is as harsh and brutal as it's ever been. Each note really screaming out with pure passion and energy.

Highlights from this album include '24 Hours Ago', 'Beyond the Doors of the Dark', 'The Price You Pay', 'Strange Wings', 'Devastation' and of course, the title track itself. While I didn't mind 'Fight for the Rock', this is certainly a return to form for Savatage, and although it may be somewhat surpassed by the groups later material, it definitely still holds up well as a solid heavy metal album.

"Madness reigns..."
"Hall of the Mountain King" is the 4th full-length studio album by US, Florida based heavy/power metal act Savatage. The album was released through Atlantic Records in September 1987. It features the same lineup who recorded "Fight for the Rock (1986)". Both "Sirens (1983)" and "Power of the Night (1985)" were well received by fans and critics alike, but failed to give Savatage a commercial breakthrough, and Atlantic Records therefore put pressure on the band to write and release a more mainstream oriented album, which they did with "Fight for the Rock (1986)". "Fight for the Rock (1986)" didn´t provide the band with the expected commercial success though, and in addition to that failure, the fans and the critics turned on the band. Lead vocalist Jon Oliva has since pointed at those issues as the beginning of his problems with depression, and drug and alcohol abuse.

It´s therefore no surprise that the music on "Hall Of The Mountain King" is harder edged heavy/power metal more in the vein of the first two albums than in the vein of the more mainstream oriented heavy rock/metal style of "Fight for the Rock (1986)". But while they´ve "gone back to the roots" on "Hall Of The Mountain King", they´ve also developed their sound and the sophistication of the track arrangements is quite high compared to the early releases.

The musicianship is on a high level on all posts. A pounding organic rhythm section, Jon Oliva´s distinct sounding raw vocal delivery, and a lead guitarist extraordinaire in Criss Oliva. Especially the latter´s playing is brilliant on this album. Hard edged riffs and blistering solos and melody work. The band also use piano/keyboards as atmosphere enhancement. Savatage obviously felt they had something to prove to the fans and the critics, and prove it they did. There´s a burning passion and great conviction to the performances on "Hall Of The Mountain King" that are probably born out of the hunger to prove yourself. Judging by the bite and conviction behind the delivery on the album it would seem that past failure is a strong motivation factor for future success.

The material on the 10 track, 39:26 minutes long album is hard edged and at times quite sophisticated heavy/US power metal. When most adventurous it would even be valid to call some parts of the music progressive. The best example is the instrumental "Prelude To Madness", which serves as an intro to the title track. "Prelude To Madness" includes parts of pieces by the classical composers Edward Grieg and Gustav Holst. The progressive element is only secondary on the album though. "Hall Of The Mountain King" has a dark atmosphere which runs through it and even a track like "Strange Wings", which features some mainstream leanings, is quite gloomy. It´s not a depressive or melancholic album though and you´ll still be exposed to hard rocking riffs, intense screaming vocals, and overall just great energetic power. It´s hard to pick out highligts, because the album doesn´t feature any low points or sub par material, but some of the standout tracks are "24 Hrs. Ago", "Beyond the Doors of the Dark", "Legions", and the title track. The strongly Iron Maiden influenced "Devastation" is also worth a mention.

The band brought in Paul O´Neill to produce "Hall Of The Mountain King" and it turned out to be the beginning of a long marriage, as O´Neill has often since been called the "secret" member of Savatage. The sound production is powerful, raw, and detailed, and fits perfectly with the material. So this is one of those releases where everything come together to make an almost perfect whole. High level musicianship and passionate performances, intriguing songwriting, and a well sounding production. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.
Adding progressive metal accents to their power metal style, Hall of the Mountain King finds Savatage in a mood which is equal parts experimental and playful. Knocking off a metallised Grieg cover in the form of Prelude to Madness come across more like a bit of fun than a track to be taken more seriously, and I think it slightly suffers from its placement on the CD - remember, on the original album it was the opening track to side 2, so it's slightly less disruptive there as a quick goof-off than as the momentum-sapper in the middle of the running order it is on the CD. Still, aside from that one track the group are in good form and in general the album is highly enjoyable if you're after progressive power metal that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Savatage’s fourth studio album Hall Of The Mountain King is a cult classic Heavy Metal album, that was released in 1987 and which was the starting point in the band’s gradual evolution from a more traditional 80s Metal band into a Progressive Metal band.

Sonically, the album shares moments of Power Metal, NWOBHM, Progressive Metal & Thrash Metal without ever really settling on one or the other for a real long time, although in a way that always feels natural rather than a schizophrenic shifting between disjointed styles. If you come in to it expecting one particular thing then it may be confusing or even a bit annoying, indeed people often argue over what subgenre Savatage actually are since they sit perfectly on the borders of so many, but if you can stop yourself over-analyzing it in comparison to any set of genre boundaries, you’ll get to hear a damn fine album of well written, quintessentially ’80s sounding Metal.

Jon Olivia has a powerful voice that goes from throaty low pitched shouting to Dickinson & Halford style theatrics and melodies at a moments notice. Equally, the rest of the band are all impressive at their instruments, with each member shining at one point of the album or other, from a bass-centric intro to a lengthy guitar solo or some interesting drum fills everyone shows what they can do in a restrained but still impressive fashion.

The whole record flows really well and not a moment feels wasted or out of place, the production suits the musical direction perfectly and the album overall just feels satisfying. Its easy to see why it always makes it into lists of best metal albums.

Highlights include the rhythmic and interesting ‘Legions’ the speedy ‘White Witch’ and the brilliant and memorable title-track along with its classical-reinterpretation prelude track, for which most people will know the album.

Overall; Hall Of The Mountain King is something that pretty much any Metal fan should be able to find something to like about, and if you haven’t heard it yet, you should at least consider trying it out.
Time Signature
Prelude to metal...

Genre: trad./prog/power metal

I think this is the album where Savatage's musical journey really starts in terms of their exploration of power metal, progressive metal and traditional metal (although their run-up did start on the previous releases, I would argue), and I think it is very fitting that this release should be their commercial breakthrough. Of course, it also marks a return to form after the fiasco that was "Fight for the Rock", where the band adopted a style which was primarily force upon them by their label - and the band was probably stoked by the thought of returning to writing music that they actually want to play, which must have proved an additional reason why this album is as awesome as it is.

Savatage have ventured into US power metal territory (or rather paved the way) on this release, which has a much bigger sound than on previous releases and at times border on being epic - especially in 'Prelude to Madness'/'Hall of the Mountain King'. There are also progressive tendencies on this album, reflected in elements such the the use of keyboards (which, however, was not new to the world of Savatage before this release), rhythmic ambiguities and odd time signatures, as well as dynamic song structures. Still, the influence from bands like Judas Priest remains, and that is more than fine by me.

Guitar fans will be happy to know that there are plenty of strong riffs on this album as well as top notch guitar solos from Criss Oliva. And Jon Oliva's singing is as tense and scream-filled as ever.

"Hall of the Mountain King" is a fine example of early US prog power metal, and, if you are a fan of Vicious Rumor's "Welcome to the Ball", you might like this release, too.
Hummm, this isn't fast, but isn't slow as well. That kind of 'indecision' bothers me a little bit.

Jon Oliva's vocals also bothers me a little, sometimes over the edge with some 'screaming' stuff, sometimes with no 'feeling' in his voice, something like 'Stay'.

Some nice guitar work from Criss Oliva, but nothing really outstanding. A good intro bass line on 'Legions'.

But I have to say 'White Witch' is a really good track, nice tempo and good chorus! The 'Iron Maiden like' 'Devastation' is a good track too! Also we have the fine version to 'In The Hall Of The Mountain King' wich became the name of the album as well.

In the end a good album, but nothing really incredible.
Before Savatage started releasing albums that are regarded as Prog Metal they were a much more traditional Heavy Metal band and their 1987 release Hall of the Mountain King is just that. Having said that, Savatage’s Metal does have a rather grandiose feel and hints that they were heading in a more Prog orientated direction are present, particularly on instrumental Prelude to Madness (hats off to Grieg) and title track Hall of the Mountain King.

This is my favourite album by them (admittedly I haven’t heard Handful Of Rain and Poets and Madmen) and personally would have preferred them to have followed in this vein for their next album, the disappointing, at least after this release Gutter Ballet.

The first thing that hits you here is Criss Oliva’s lush and rich guitar sound, an excellent player and he really shines all over this album. Sadly he is no longer with us having been killed in a road traffic accident. Brother, Jon Oliva also shows what a great voice he has.

It’s surprising that this album didn’t raise Savatage to the big league such is the quality of the material here. On the original vinyl release side 1 doesn’t let up with top quality melodic power metal, making it difficult to choose a favourite track though perhaps Beyond the Doors of the Dark deserves special mention for best riff on the album. Side 2 whilst overall not quite of the same standard is still very good, particularly the aforementioned opener Prelude to Madness and Hall of the Mountain King.

This is mostly a mid paced album, which at the time was a breath of fresh air as most metal bands were trying to play as fast as possible due to the Thrash Metal movement. Only White Witch turns on the speed but is possibly the weakest track on a classic Heavy Metal album.

Members reviews

Whatever genre you want to call Savatage, one thing is indisputable, and that is Savatage is savagely awesome!

"Hall of the Mountain King" is my favorite Savatage album. It features the vicious guitar playing of the late, great Criss Oliva, as well as the epic vocals of his older brother Jon. The thing that I love about this album is the striking presence of the old-school Heavy Metal aura. From start to finish, this album features fast, heavy guitar riffs and Jon's deliciously evil voice (which reminds me of a crazed Bruce Dickenson). There isn't a single song here that I don't absolutely adore.

If you want a taste of what this album and the band is all about, listen to the title track and prepare yourself for an oral assault.

Ratings only

  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • 666sharon666
  • SilentScream213
  • Psydye
  • Daniel Wallace
  • Pintos
  • Seven Moons
  • tempest_77
  • Fant0mas
  • Necrotica
  • Lock24
  • michelandrade
  • Unitron
  • adg211288
  • Lynx33
  • shadowoffadream
  • KatiLily
  • wintercrescent
  • luanpedi
  • yair010390
  • Immortalis
  • IndianaJones
  • stefanbedna
  • IMPF2112
  • Nergal131
  • Stooge
  • zappino
  • enosis1924
  • 13hammer
  • progpostman
  • Le username
  • Zargus
  • cennsor
  • Bartje1979
  • cannon
  • ollischr
  • Tlön
  • CCVP
  • Colt
  • irregardlessly
  • sauromat
  • [email protected]
  • NorseGangsta
  • The T 666

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review


Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
Buy this album from our partners
Dirt Alternative Metal
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

Live At Fall Of Man Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Omega Sludge Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
You Don't Know Us Alternative Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Diagrams Of Conciousness Death Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
Conquered Lands US Power Metal
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

BAND-MAID / Thrill(???)
Time Signature· 77 minutes ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions


Latest Metal News


More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us