SAVATAGE
US Power Metal / Traditional heavy metal / Progressive Metal • United States

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Savatage is a heavy metal/progressive metal band founded by the brothers Jon and Criss Oliva in 1979. The band is known for recording many rock operas. Early on, Savatage was a traditional heavy metal band, who stood out from the pack due to guitarist Criss Oliva's uncommonly heavy riffing and vocalist Jon Oliva's unique vocal stylings.

Following the failure of Fight for the Rock, an attempt to commercialize their sound, Savatage began moving in a more operatic direction, releasing a number of rock opera albums in collaboration with producer Paul O'Neill.

After the tragic death of Criss Oliva, the band soldiered on to continued critical acclaim but diminishing commercial success. However, Oliva and O'Neill lucked out when a single from Dead Winter Dead, "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)", managed to crack the singles chart. The song, a reworking of a classic Christmas hymn, acted as a launching pad for the immensely
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Hall of the Mountain KingHall of the Mountain King
Import
Ais 2011
Audio CD$5.08
$6.12 (used)
Gutter BalletGutter Ballet
Import
Ais 2011
Audio CD$5.08
$7.61 (used)
Still The Orchestra PlaysStill The Orchestra Plays
Import
earMUSIC 2010
Audio CD$4.99
$5.36 (used)
Poets & MadmenPoets & Madmen
Import
Ais 2011
Audio CD$5.15
$5.14 (used)
Dead Winter DeadDead Winter Dead
Atlantic 1995
Audio CD$5.31
$3.01 (used)
Streets: A Rock OperaStreets: A Rock Opera
Atlantic 1991
Audio CD$4.84
$2.88 (used)
Savatage, Edge of ThornsSavatage, Edge of Thorns
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$5.73
$6.78 (used)
Collector's EditionCollector's Edition
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$12.65
$21.86 (used)
Dungeons Are CallingDungeons Are Calling
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$4.76
$4.75 (used)
Live in Japan '94 (Re-Issue)Live in Japan '94 (Re-Issue)
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
Audio CD$5.08
$7.35 (used)
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SAVATAGE / FINAL BELL JAPAN CD OOP W/OBI SAVATAGE / FINAL BELL JAPAN CD OOP W/OBI USD $21.99 Buy It Now 4h
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SAVATAGE   live in cologne  1997     7'   SAVATAGE live in cologne 1997 7' USD $39.99 (1 bids)
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The Demos by Doctor Butcher (1999, Doctor Butcher) USED CD Jon Oliva Savatage The Demos by Doctor Butcher (1999, Doctor Butcher) USED CD Jon Oliva Savatage USD $14.00 Buy It Now 14h
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Savatage Savatage " Dead Winter Dead " CD USD $5.00 Buy It Now 16h
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA - LETTERS FROM THE LABYRINTH (Autographed, Savatage) TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA - LETTERS FROM THE LABYRINTH (Autographed, Savatage) USD $30.00 Buy It Now 16h
Streets: A Rock Opera by Savatage. Streets: A Rock Opera by Savatage. USD $14.28 Buy It Now 21h
Gutter Ballet by Savatage. Gutter Ballet by Savatage. USD $20.99 Buy It Now 22h
Streets: A Rock Opera by Savatage. Streets: A Rock Opera by Savatage. USD $20.99 Buy It Now 22h
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Savatage Poets And Madmen Limited Edition Box set Poster Sticker AN  2001 Savatage Poets And Madmen Limited Edition Box set Poster Sticker AN 2001 USD $17.76 Buy It Now 23h
SAVATAGE Power of the Night 12 SAVATAGE Power of the Night 12" LP Masterdisk German Pressing 1985 Heavy Metal USD $51.00 Buy It Now 23h
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Vintage Cassette Tape HAIR METAL Savatage Gutter Ballet Vintage Cassette Tape HAIR METAL Savatage Gutter Ballet USD $4.95 (0 bids)
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THUNDER  -  BACK STREET SYMPHONY.  /  ( SAVATAGE , WINGER , GREAT WHITE , GUN ). THUNDER - BACK STREET SYMPHONY. / ( SAVATAGE , WINGER , GREAT WHITE , GUN ). USD $9.67 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage - Handful Of Rain - Cassette, 1995 Made In Poland EX+/MINT  Savatage - Handful Of Rain - Cassette, 1995 Made In Poland EX+/MINT USD $9.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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SAVATAGE - Edge Of Thorns / ATLANTIC Records SAVATAGE - Edge Of Thorns / ATLANTIC Records USD $12.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - STREETS: A ROCK OPERA - CD SAVATAGE - STREETS: A ROCK OPERA - CD USD $11.94 Buy It Now 1 day
SEALED/NEW CD:Savatage-Gutter Ballet(Oliva,avatar,95ynf,Metropolis U.S.A)no lp SEALED/NEW CD:Savatage-Gutter Ballet(Oliva,avatar,95ynf,Metropolis U.S.A)no lp USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING 1987 US LP ATLANTIC 81775-1 IN SHRINK NM SAVATAGE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING 1987 US LP ATLANTIC 81775-1 IN SHRINK NM USD $75.95 Buy It Now 1 day
PHARAOH BURY THE LIGHT LP RARE TWISTED TOWER DIRE HELSTAR SAVATAGE PHARAOH BURY THE LIGHT LP RARE TWISTED TOWER DIRE HELSTAR SAVATAGE USD $0.99 (1 bids)
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Hammeron Nothin' To Do But Rock Us Metal Savatage Hammeron Nothin' To Do But Rock Us Metal Savatage USD $16.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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SAVATAGE Return To Wacken 2015 11-track CD NEW/SEALED SAVATAGE Return To Wacken 2015 11-track CD NEW/SEALED USD $8.85 Buy It Now 1 day
PHARAOH BE GONE LP + 7 PHARAOH BE GONE LP + 7" RARE TWISTED TOWER DIRE HELSTAR SAVATAGE USD $0.99 (1 bids)
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Fight For The Rock (Re-Issue) - Savatage (CD Used Very Good) Fight For The Rock (Re-Issue) - Savatage (CD Used Very Good) USD $7.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Trans Siberian Orchestra Wizards In Winter Promo CD TSO Christmas Savatage Trans Siberian Orchestra Wizards In Winter Promo CD TSO Christmas Savatage USD $17.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Sirens + Dungeons Are Calling: The Complete Session Savatage Audio CD Sirens + Dungeons Are Calling: The Complete Session Savatage Audio CD USD $13.35 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE Fight For The Rock RECORD LP VINYL 1986 USA HEAVY METAL SAVATAGE Fight For The Rock RECORD LP VINYL 1986 USA HEAVY METAL USD $38.25 Buy It Now 1 day
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SAVATAGE Gutter Ballet [Cassette] Atlantic 82008-4 Tested TSO Paul O'Neil SAVATAGE Gutter Ballet [Cassette] Atlantic 82008-4 Tested TSO Paul O'Neil USD $6.60 Buy It Now 1 day
BEYOND THE UNDERGROUND CD Promo Only CLUTCH SAVATAGE UNSANE +6  9 Tracks Nm BEYOND THE UNDERGROUND CD Promo Only CLUTCH SAVATAGE UNSANE +6 9 Tracks Nm USD $13.45 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage Fight for the Rock 1986 Metal RARE 1st Press FACTORY SEALED New LP OOP Savatage Fight for the Rock 1986 Metal RARE 1st Press FACTORY SEALED New LP OOP USD $24.95 Buy It Now 1 day
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SAVATAGE Streets a Rock Opera Japan CD WPCR-15927 LTD 2014 OBI SAVATAGE Streets a Rock Opera Japan CD WPCR-15927 LTD 2014 OBI USD $28.79 Buy It Now 2 days
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Savatage - Sirens & Dungeons A (NEW CD) Savatage - Sirens & Dungeons A (NEW CD) USD $12.05 Buy It Now 2 days
Power Chords Volume 1 SEALED Vinyl LP - Anthrax, Overkill, Raven, Savatage, more Power Chords Volume 1 SEALED Vinyl LP - Anthrax, Overkill, Raven, Savatage, more USD $21.95 Buy It Now 2 days
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Savatage / Power of the Night - '92, Japan press ~rare!! Savatage / Power of the Night - '92, Japan press ~rare!! USD $5.01 (6 bids)
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SAVATAGE Edge Of Thorns DOUBLE LP VINYL 15 Track Double Inc Pic Inner Sleeves SAVATAGE Edge Of Thorns DOUBLE LP VINYL 15 Track Double Inc Pic Inner Sleeves USD $32.52 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE Streets A Rock Opera CD 12 Track (7567823202) German Atlantic SAVATAGE Streets A Rock Opera CD 12 Track (7567823202) German Atlantic USD $9.92 Buy It Now 2 days
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Wizard In Winter PROMO CD-Single 2007 RARE Savatage TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Wizard In Winter PROMO CD-Single 2007 RARE Savatage USD $15.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Handful of Rain by Savatage (CD, Aug-1994, Atlantic (Label)) Handful of Rain by Savatage (CD, Aug-1994, Atlantic (Label)) USD $5.26 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE / live japan /JAPAN LTD CD OBI SAVATAGE / live japan /JAPAN LTD CD OBI USD $6.94 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE / final bell  /JAPAN LTD CD OBI SAVATAGE / final bell /JAPAN LTD CD OBI USD $16.31 Buy It Now 2 days
TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA SEALED CD THE LOST CHRISTMAS EVE LAVA SAVATAGE 2004 TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA SEALED CD THE LOST CHRISTMAS EVE LAVA SAVATAGE 2004 USD $5.99 (0 bids)
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Handful of Rain by Savatage (CD, Jun-1998, Ear Music) Handful of Rain by Savatage (CD, Jun-1998, Ear Music) USD $4.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Sirens by Savatage (CD, Nov-1994, Metal Blade) Sirens by Savatage (CD, Nov-1994, Metal Blade) USD $29.15 Buy It Now 2 days
Dead Winter Dead by Savatage (Promo CD, 1995, Atlantic ) Dead Winter Dead by Savatage (Promo CD, 1995, Atlantic ) USD $13.84 Buy It Now 2 days
Return of the Mountain King: A Tribute to Savatage CD CAGE CIPHER DOFKA Metal Return of the Mountain King: A Tribute to Savatage CD CAGE CIPHER DOFKA Metal USD $6.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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Pharaoh – Ten Years Warlord, Fates Warning,DreamTheater, Savatage, Helstar,Power Pharaoh – Ten Years Warlord, Fates Warning,DreamTheater, Savatage, Helstar,Power USD $10.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Blackkout-Ignorance Of Man Realm,Savatage,Toxik,Oliver Magnum,Iced Earth,Secrecy Blackkout-Ignorance Of Man Realm,Savatage,Toxik,Oliver Magnum,Iced Earth,Secrecy USD $13.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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Release-A Requiem ForThe World Manowar,Warlord,Savatage,Gargoyle,Hittman,Villain Release-A Requiem ForThe World Manowar,Warlord,Savatage,Gargoyle,Hittman,Villain USD $13.99 Buy It Now 3 days
AGNOSIA-A Blot On The Landscape Savatage,Fates Warning,Shadow Gallery,Dream Thea AGNOSIA-A Blot On The Landscape Savatage,Fates Warning,Shadow Gallery,Dream Thea USD $10.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Commandment-No Mercy Heir Apparent,Liege Lord,Warlord,Helstar,Hammeron, Savatage Commandment-No Mercy Heir Apparent,Liege Lord,Warlord,Helstar,Hammeron, Savatage USD $13.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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SAVATAGE:POETS AND MADMEN SAVATAGE:POETS AND MADMEN USD $8.85 Buy It Now 3 days
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SAVATAGE - Edge Of Thorns LP 1st Press USA LTD AVATAR TSO JON OLIVA'S PAIN RARE! SAVATAGE - Edge Of Thorns LP 1st Press USA LTD AVATAR TSO JON OLIVA'S PAIN RARE! USD $114.99 Buy It Now 3 days
MOJO BROS 1995 JAPAN CD w/OBI Al Pitrelli SAVATAGE MEGADETH ASIA Derek Sherinian MOJO BROS 1995 JAPAN CD w/OBI Al Pitrelli SAVATAGE MEGADETH ASIA Derek Sherinian USD $22.55 Buy It Now 3 days
PLACE CALLED RAGE 95 JAPAN CD w/OBI Al Pitrelli SAVATAGE MEGADETH DRIVE SHE SAID PLACE CALLED RAGE 95 JAPAN CD w/OBI Al Pitrelli SAVATAGE MEGADETH DRIVE SHE SAID USD $22.55 Buy It Now 3 days
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Savatage Poets & Madmen Nuclear Blast Records CD Savatage Poets & Madmen Nuclear Blast Records CD USD $9.99 (0 bids)
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METAL CHURCH-INTERVIEW PICTURE DISC VICIOUS RUMORS HERETIC SAVATAGE SANCTUARY METAL CHURCH-INTERVIEW PICTURE DISC VICIOUS RUMORS HERETIC SAVATAGE SANCTUARY USD $9.99 (0 bids)
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@ CD CIRCLE II CIRCLE - CONSEQUENCE OF POWER SS ZAK STEVENS SAVATAGE AFM 2010 @ CD CIRCLE II CIRCLE - CONSEQUENCE OF POWER SS ZAK STEVENS SAVATAGE AFM 2010 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Savatage - Ghost In The Ruins (CD, 1995) Savatage - Ghost In The Ruins (CD, 1995) USD $8.80 Buy It Now 3 days
METAL HAMMER MAGAZINE 3/2002 DREAM THEATER ANNIHILATOR SAVATAGE RUNNING WILD METAL HAMMER MAGAZINE 3/2002 DREAM THEATER ANNIHILATOR SAVATAGE RUNNING WILD USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Savatage - Handful Of Rain (CD, 1994) Savatage - Handful Of Rain (CD, 1994) USD $8.80 Buy It Now 3 days
Savatage Dead Winter Dead Atlantic Records CD Savatage Dead Winter Dead Atlantic Records CD USD $9.99 (0 bids)
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SAVATAGE Discography

SAVATAGE albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.70 | 23 ratings
Sirens
US Power Metal 1983
.. Album Cover 3.24 | 26 ratings
Power Of The Night
Traditional heavy metal 1985
.. Album Cover 2.68 | 17 ratings
Fight For The Rock
Traditional heavy metal 1986
.. Album Cover 4.01 | 42 ratings
Hall Of The Mountain King
US Power Metal 1987
.. Album Cover 3.89 | 41 ratings
Gutter Ballet
US Power Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 3.83 | 32 ratings
Streets: A Rock Opera
Traditional heavy metal 1991
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 40 ratings
Edge Of Thorns
Traditional heavy metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.78 | 25 ratings
Handful Of Rain
US Power Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 3.92 | 36 ratings
Dead Winter Dead
Traditional heavy metal 1995
.. Album Cover 4.04 | 37 ratings
The Wake Of Magellan
Progressive Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 3.69 | 21 ratings
Poets And Madmen
Progressive Metal 2001

SAVATAGE EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.49 | 13 ratings
The Dungeons Are Calling
US Power Metal 1984

SAVATAGE live albums

.. Album Cover 3.08 | 6 ratings
Japan Live '94
US Power Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 2.88 | 7 ratings
Ghost In The Ruins: A Tribute To Criss Oliva
US Power Metal 1995

SAVATAGE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SAVATAGE re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
From The Gutter To The Stage: The Best Of 1981 - 1995
US Power Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
The Best And The Rest
US Power Metal 1997
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Believe
US Power Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Still The Orchestra Plays: Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2
US Power Metal 2010

SAVATAGE singles (2)

.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
One Child
US Power Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Commissar
US Power Metal 2001

SAVATAGE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.11 | 3 ratings
Japan Live '94
US Power Metal 1995

SAVATAGE Reviews

SAVATAGE Gutter Ballet

Album · 1989 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Deploying some orchestral and keyboard hits to their grandiose style of US power metal might make you think that Savatage were running a risk of descending into flat-out pretentious pomposity, but on Gutter Ballet they walk the tightrope magnificently. Not quite going into prog metal territory but certainly letting off warning shots at its borders, not so much going full symphonic metal with the orchestral elements but instead using the strings to add a certain much to their more traditional power metal style, Savatage juggle numerous musical ingredients with skill and produce an album which is simultaneously punchy and nuanced, accessible and intricate.

SAVATAGE Handful Of Rain

Album · 1994 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Handful Of Rain" is the 8th full-length studio album by US, Florida based heavy/power metal act Savatage. The album was released through Atlantic Records in August 1994. There´s been one lineup change since the release of "Edge Of Thorns (1993)" as guitarist/composer Criss Oliva died in a tragic car accident (involving a drunk driver behind the wheel of the other car) in October 1993. Older brother and lead vocalist Jon Oliva had already jumped ship before the recording sessions for "Edge Of Thorns (1993)" (he was replaced by Zachary Stevens), so "Handful Of Rain" is the first Savatage release not to feature at least one of the Oliva brothers in the lineup (although Jon remained the primary composer along with producer Paul O´Neill, and also performs session piano on the album). Criss Oliva is replaced here by former Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick.

So how does Savatage sound with none of the two Oliva brothers in the lineup? Well it sounds unmistakably like Savatage. While Skolnick could never replace Criss Oliva (no one could have...), he is a very capable guitarist and his contributions to the album suits the compositions perfectly. As far as the material goes, there hasn´t been much change since "Edge Of Thorns (1993)". The tracks maybe lean a bit more toward musical territory and they are maybe slightly less heavy tracks than on the predessecor, but it´s details, and overall "Handful Of Rain" is through and through the sound of Savatage.

As the case has been on the last couple of albums, the material on "Handful Of Rain" is relatively diverse, and there are both really heavy tracks like "Taunting Cobras" and "Nothing's Going On" and more epic (though still heavy tracks) like the title track and "Castles Burning", featured on the album. There are also more progressive oriented tracks on the album like "Chance", which is definitely one of the most progressive tracks in the band´s discography, heavily influenced by musicals and featuring a multi harmony counterpoint vocal section (not completely unlike what you hear on some Queen songs). The closing "Alone You Breathe" deserves a mention too. It´s a slow building power ballad type track, which in it´s long coda uses lyric lines from "When The Crowds Are Gone" (off "Gutter Ballet (1989)") and "Believe" (off "Streets: A Rock Opera (1991)"). As Frank Zappa would have put it: "Conceptual Continuity".

Overall the quality of the material is high throughout, and all tracks are instantly catchy and memorable. I would have prefered a few more rockers instead of the many epic tracks, but on the other hand it´s hard not to be impressed by how skillfully executed and well written the material is, and then it matters less that the really hard rocking and faster paced tracks are relatively few. "Handful Of Rain" features a powerful and well sounding production too, and upon conclusion it´s yet another high quality release by the band. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SAVATAGE Edge Of Thorns

Album · 1993 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Edge Of Thorns" is the 7th full-length studio album by by US, Florida based heavy/power metal act Savatage. The album was released through Atlantic Records in April 1993. A major lineup change has taken place since the release of "Streets: A Rock Opera (1991)" as lead vocalist, composer, and founding member Jon Oliva left Savatage after the tour supporting "Streets: A Rock Opera (1991)". His substance abuse and the strain of touring had taken it´s toll on him, and he decided it would be best for him to quit the band and try and solve his personal issues. Oliva is replaced here by Zachary Stevens. He stayed on as composer though, and like the case have been on the last couple of albums, all songwriting is credited to Jon Oliva, Criss Oliva, and producer Paul O´Neill. The remaining part of the lineup are Criss Oliva (guitars, backing vocals), Johnny Lee Middleton (bass, backing vocals), and Steve Wacholz (drums, percussion).

"Edge Of Thorns" succeeds what is often considered the band´s peak period (1987-1991), and adding to that the change on the lead vocalist spot, the album wasn´t exactly created under the easiest conditions. While Zachary Stevens can´t fully live up to the incredible vocal qualities of Jon Oliva, he is still a greatly skilled singer in his own right, and a suitable replacement with a strong voice and commanding delivery, who most fans of the band quickly accepted.

Stylistically the music on the 13 track, 53:57 minutes long album is unmistakably the sound of Savatage. Hard rocking heavy riffs, blistering solos and lead themes, a pounding organic rhythm section (there are actually electric drums on this one, which take away a bit of the usually more organic sounding tone), and raw yet melodic vocals in front. Piano and keyboards are also part of the sound, but they are not as dominant as they were on the predecessor. In that respect "Edge Of Thorns" is a more guitar driven and immediate album than "Streets: A Rock Opera (1991)", which required more spins to sink in and which had more sophisticated song arrangements. There are still quite a few sophisticated tracks featured on this album too though, so it´s not a through and through raw and unpolished heavy/power metal album like some of the band´s early releases. But why would it be this long into the band´s career? Taking into consideration their development of sound over the years, it´s only natural that the raw power is a bit more restrained and that the overall sound is relatively polished.

Savatage vary their sound from epic mid-paced tracks, to heavy US power metal, to hard rocking energetic rockers, and a couple of more quit/mellow tracks. Highlights include "He Carves His Stone" (which is among the band´s most hard edged tracks), the title track, "Follow Me", "Damien", and the two energetic rockers "Lights Out" and "Miles Away". The latter reminds me a bit of a hard edged Van Halen track. The material is generally well written and catchy though. The whole thing is packed in a professional, clear, and powerful sounding production, which helps bring out the details in the music. Upon conclusion "Edge Of Thorns" is another fairly strong Savatage release, but compared to the preceding three studio albums, it can´t quite live up to the extremely high quality of those. Still a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is well deserved.

SAVATAGE Streets: A Rock Opera

Album · 1991 · Traditional heavy metal
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"Streets: A Rock Opera" is the 6th full-length studio album by US, Florida based heavy/power metal act Savatage. The album was released through Atlantic Records in October 1991. There´s been one lineup change since the release of "Gutter Ballet (1989)" as second guitarist Chris Caffery has left, making Savatage a four-piece again. "Streets: A Rock Opera" is a concept album telling the story of troubled rock star DT Jesus. The story is based on a play (titled "Gutter Ballet") that producer Paul O'Neill had written in 1979 and which he had originally intended for a Broadway musical. It remained in a drawer in his house until Criss Oliva found it, and the band picked it up and turned it into "Streets: A Rock Opera".

"Streets: A Rock Opera" sees Savatage developing their style once again. "Gutter Ballet (1989)" saw them incorporating elements from musicals, orchestration, and just a generally more sophisticated and detailed songwriting approach than before. That musical direction is continued and further developed on "Streets: A Rock Opera". The basis in the music is still heavy/power metal with the rare nod towards progressive metal. The progressive tendencies are more due to the overall concept of the release, than due to the compositions themselves, which are predominantly vers/chorus structured. Savatage challenge conventional songwriting here more than ever though and at times the tracks are relatively adventurous, although you won´t be exposed to long instrumental parts or other progressive metal traits. Keyboards/piano play a more dominant role on this album than on any Savatage release before it, but they rarely function as a lead instrument. They are rather used for atmosphere, orchestration, and harmonization.

Musically "Streets: A Rock Opera" was the most diverse Savatage release up until then. It´s a highly dynamic release featuring both heavy/power metal tunes like "Jesus Saves" and "Agony And Ecstasy", heavy mid-paced epic tracks like "Streets" and "Ghost In The Ruins", up-tempo energetic rockers like "Sammy And Tex" (that swing rhythm is infectiously catchy) and "Strange Reality", epic power ballads like "Tonight He Grins Again" and "If I Go Away", and shorter ballad type tracks like "You're Alive" and "Heal My Soul". All musical styles and songs are placed strategically on the tracklist to make most impact along with the concept story.

"Streets: A Rock Opera" is a well produced album, featuring a powerful, detailed, and clear sound production, which suits the music perfectly. The musicianship is as always on a high level. The rhythm section of drummer Steve Wacholz and bassist Johnny Lee Middleton are a hard pounding machine, who drives the music forward with great energy and passion, while guitarist Criss Oliva plays one great catchy riff after another and also delivers blistering solo work. Lead vocalist Jon Oliva sings with both his commanding rusty voice and in a more sensitive fashion, but always with a great melodic sensibility. His performance here is both varied and very well executed.

So upon conclusion it´s safe to say that "Streets: A Rock Opera" is a very impressive high quality release. The concept isn´t the most original as artists like The Who and Pink Floyd (just to mention a few) have done similar things in the past, but it still works reasonably well, as Savatage skillfully combine music and lyrics into a great whole. Even with 16 tracks and a full playing time of 68:33 minutes, the album never feels long and there´s nothing on the album which feels unnecessary or doesn´t live up to the high quality of the rest of the material. This is through and through a well thought out, well executed, and well produced album. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

SAVATAGE Gutter Ballet

Album · 1989 · US Power Metal
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"Gutter Ballet" is the 5th full-length studio album by US, Florida based heavy/power metal act Savatage. The album was released through Atlantic Records in December 1989. There´s been one lineup change since the release of "Hall Of The Mountain King (1987)" as Chris Caffery has been added as a second guitarist (he is also credited for performing keyboards), making Savatage a five-piece on this release (although in reality Caffery didn´t perform on the album). Caffery had previously toured with Savatage. "Gutter Ballet" spawned two promotional videos for the title track and "When The Crowds Are Gone". Both videos were given repeated plays on the then prolific MTV Headbangers Ball show, which helped promote the album and heighten Savatage profile even more.

Stylistically "Gutter Ballet" marks a change in musical direction for Savatage. Main composer Jon Oliva (producer Paul O'Neill and guitarist Criss Oliva are also credited as main composers) got inspired by musicals and grander song arrangements after watching a performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "The Phantom of the Opera", and although the core sound of the album is still heavy/power metal, some of the compositions featured on the album are quite ambitious in nature, as a result of the new influences. It´s not that Savatage hadn´t entered more sophisticated compositional territories before (their use of parts of pieces by the classical composers Edward Grieg and Gustav Holst on "Prelude To Madness" from "Hall Of The Mountain King (1987)" is an example of that), but now those elements are more fully incorporated in the band´s music. Occasionally even to a point where you could label the music progressive. However as on past releases the progressive metal elements are still only a secondary influence in the band´s music. This is still first and foremost heavy/power metal delivered with great energy and bite.

"Gutter Ballet" opens with the hard edged and heavy "Of Rage And War", which features the classic heavy/power metal Savatage sound, but we´re taken on quite a diverse journey during the next four tracks. The title track is a relatively progressive track featuring piano, orchestral arrangements, and a musical style build up. The arrangement is clever, sophisticated, and powerful. "Temptation Revelation" is an instrumental which is obviously written to showcase Criss Oliva´s considerable guitar skills (and succeeds in doing that while still being an interesting composition), before the power ballad type "When The Crowds Are Gone" kicks in. It´s yet another incredibly well composed track with a strong chorus hookline. The acoustic guitar instrumental "Silk And Steel" finishes the adventurous run of tracks, before the album settles in with more familiar sounding heavy/power metal tracks like "She's In Love", "Hounds", "The Unholy", and "Mentally Yours". The original vinyl version of "Gutter Ballet" closed with the power ballad "Summer's Rain", while the CD version featured the bonus track "Thorazine Shuffle" after "Summer's Rain". So looking at the tracklist it´s mostly during the first part of the album that you´ll find surprises in the musical direction, compared to the previous releases by the band.

The musicianship is on a high level on all posts. The rhythm section of drummer Steve Wacholz and bassist Johnny Lee Middleton are a tightly nit unit, delivering pounding organic beats, driving the music forward in a great energetic fashion. Lead vocalist Jon Oliva takes his performance up a notch here compared to his vocals on the previous releases by the band (and that says a lot since his performances on those past releases were very strong). His raw rusty voice is commanding and powerful, yet always melodic and sensitive. Criss Oliva delivers one jaw-dropping moment after another throughout the album. His riffs are delivered with a rare bite and conviction, and his solos and licks are not only incredibly well played, but there is something special about his tone too, that not many guitarists are able to rival nor duplicate. You get the feeling that he bleeds notes. That´s the kind of intimacy he sounds like he has with his guitar. It´s nothing less than a perfect symbiosis.

"Gutter Ballet" also features a very well sounding production. It´s heavy and powerful, yet detailed and clear. A perfect and tasteful sound for the material on the album. Upon conclusion "Gutter Ballet" is an album which shows Savatage developing their sound, but there is still a good balance between the epic and sophisticated moments and the hard edged rocking parts, and therefore the more adventurous elements never take away from the power of the music, which in some cases can be the downfall of similar releases. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

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