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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
Ais 2011
$5.74 (used)
Poets & MadmenPoets & Madmen
Ais 2011
Handful of RainHandful of Rain
Absolute Uk 2011
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Sirens and the Dungeons Are CallingSirens and the Dungeons Are Calling
Ais 2011
$5.82 (used)
Dead Winter DeadDead Winter Dead
Edel Europe 2011
$11.85 (used)
Wake of MagellanWake of Magellan
Earmusic 2010
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Gutter BalletGutter Ballet
Ais 2011
$5.87 (used)
Streets: Rock OperaStreets: Rock Opera
Ais 2011
$5.75 (used)
Power of the NightPower of the Night
Ais 2011
$4.51 (used)
Savatage, Edge of ThornsSavatage, Edge of Thorns
Edge J26181 2011
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SAVATAGE Discography

SAVATAGE albums / top albums

SAVATAGE Sirens album cover 3.43 | 26 ratings
US Power Metal 1983
SAVATAGE Power Of The Night album cover 3.27 | 30 ratings
Power Of The Night
Heavy Metal 1985
SAVATAGE Fight For The Rock album cover 2.43 | 20 ratings
Fight For The Rock
Heavy Metal 1986
SAVATAGE Hall Of The Mountain King album cover 3.99 | 48 ratings
Hall Of The Mountain King
Heavy Metal 1987
SAVATAGE Gutter Ballet album cover 3.84 | 45 ratings
Gutter Ballet
Heavy Metal 1989
SAVATAGE Streets: A Rock Opera album cover 3.94 | 35 ratings
Streets: A Rock Opera
Heavy Metal 1991
SAVATAGE Edge Of Thorns album cover 4.01 | 46 ratings
Edge Of Thorns
Heavy Metal 1993
SAVATAGE Handful Of Rain album cover 3.62 | 28 ratings
Handful Of Rain
Heavy Metal 1994
SAVATAGE Dead Winter Dead album cover 3.82 | 39 ratings
Dead Winter Dead
Heavy Metal 1995
SAVATAGE The Wake Of Magellan album cover 4.05 | 42 ratings
The Wake Of Magellan
Progressive Metal 1997
SAVATAGE Poets And Madmen album cover 4.17 | 21 ratings
Poets And Madmen
Progressive Metal 2001

SAVATAGE EPs & splits

SAVATAGE The Dungeons Are Calling album cover 3.17 | 15 ratings
The Dungeons Are Calling
US Power Metal 1984

SAVATAGE live albums

SAVATAGE Japan Live '94 album cover 2.68 | 7 ratings
Japan Live '94
Heavy Metal 1995
SAVATAGE Ghost In The Ruins: A Tribute To Criss Oliva album cover 3.78 | 8 ratings
Ghost In The Ruins: A Tribute To Criss Oliva
Heavy Metal 1995

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

SAVATAGE re-issues & compilations

SAVATAGE From The Gutter To The Stage: The Best Of 1981 - 1995 album cover 4.33 | 3 ratings
From The Gutter To The Stage: The Best Of 1981 - 1995
Heavy Metal 1995
SAVATAGE The Best And The Rest album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
The Best And The Rest
Heavy Metal 1997
SAVATAGE Believe album cover 2.57 | 3 ratings
Heavy Metal 1998
SAVATAGE Still The Orchestra Plays: Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2 album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Still The Orchestra Plays: Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2
Heavy Metal 2010
SAVATAGE Return to Wacken album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Return to Wacken
Progressive Metal 2015

SAVATAGE singles (2)

.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
One Child
Progressive Metal 1996
.. Album Cover
2.83 | 2 ratings
Progressive Metal 2001

SAVATAGE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
3.83 | 3 ratings
Japan Live '94
Heavy Metal 1995


SAVATAGE Ghost In The Ruins: A Tribute To Criss Oliva

Live album · 1995 · Heavy Metal
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‘Ghost in the Ruins’ is the second official live album by American metal band Savatage. Released in 1995, it serves as a tribute to the late Criss Oliva who died in a car accident in 1993, however, it’s release comes just months after the band had released ‘Japan Live ‘94’, and two live albums, both with similar set lists in such a short span tends to lessen the impact.

To be brutally honest though, while I absolutely love Savatage, and they are one of my all-time favourite bands, I’ve always felt that their material doesn’t translate well into live albums. Sure, there’s no doubt the energy of hearing these songs live is off the hook, but hearing it “live”, in album form at least, seems to lack what makes the studio versions so powerful to begin with.

I mean, the band play exceptionally, and there’s a palpable chemistry between them all, and the set list is spot on, especially considering when this was recorded, but as I’ve touched upon, I just really can’t get into this. With the likes of ‘Gutter Ballet’, ‘When the Crowds Are Gone’, ‘Sirens’, ‘Hall of the Mountain King’ and ‘Of Rage and War’, this album isn’t a complete loss, but at the end of the day, I’d much rather listen to any of the studio albums and hear the music in all its fist-pumping studio glory.

SAVATAGE Edge Of Thorns

Album · 1993 · Heavy Metal
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Highly revered by fans and often regarded as the bands finest work, 1993’s ‘Edge of Thorns’ is a pivotal album in Savatage’s discography. It’s the first album to feature new vocalist Zak Stevens, with Jon Oliva stepping away from the mic to focus on keyboards and songwriting, and most notably, it’s the final album to feature guitar hero and founder Criss Oliva, who was tragically killed by a drunk driver six months after the release of this album.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the band either. Already fighting an uphill battle against changing musical trends, the band were managing to continually improve with each release, and while following 1989’s ‘Gutter Ballet’ and ‘1991’s ‘Streets: A Rock Opera’ itself would seem a daunting task, the band rise to the challenge with this, one of their most polished and well-rounded releases to date.

With its great production and overflowing with fantastic musicianship, ‘Edge of Thorns’ sees the band step away slightly from the more classical leanings of their previous few releases, and focus more on a metal-tinted hard rock edge. Which is fine, as it’s still a solid album full of memorable tracks. The likes of ‘Edge of Thorns’, ‘He Carves His Stones’, ‘Follow Me’, ‘Damien’, ‘Lights Out’ and bonus track ‘Forever After’ makes this one of Savatage’s strongest releases.

While the band would go on to new creative heights, this was probably their commercial peak. With metal in the mainstream being completely dead by this point, any momentum the band had garnered up until now would slowly squander over the next few years, and while the 90’s would see the band release some of their best and most ambitious works, at this point they would firmly enter the realm of being a cult band. ‘Edge of Thorns’, really is the end of one era and the start of another.


Boxset / Compilation · 1998 · Heavy Metal
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‘Believe’ is a 1998 compilation album by American metal band Savatage. It was only released in Japan, and focuses primarily on the bands 90’s output, most notably with cuts from the studio albums ‘Handful of Rain’ and ‘Dead Winter Dead’, as well as the two live albums ‘Japan Live ‘94’ and ‘Ghost in the Ruins: A Tribute to Criss Oliva’. With that in mind, while it serves its purpose well as some kind of 90’s commemoration, it’s a bit of pointless and uninspired release.

And what’s up with that lame cover art?

Still, for what it’s worth, Savatage are one of my all time favourite bands, and the material on offer here is still bloody brilliant! From hard rockers like ‘Taunting Cobras’ and ‘Handful of Rain’ to symphonic epics such as ‘Chance’, ‘This is the Time’ and ‘Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)’, while there are other songs from the studio albums that are missing, these are still great tracks. Plus, you get the song ‘Believe’ from the ‘Streets’ album, which is always a fan favourite.

And as for the live tracks... well, I’ve always been a sucker for studio albums, but still, you’ve got the likes of ‘Edge of Thorns’, ‘Gutter Ballet’, ‘Hall of the Mountain King’ and ‘The Dungeons Are Calling’, so there’s some good stuff there too.

But as a whole, looking at this album in retrospect, it’s pointless. There are other Savatage compilations that do a fantastic job of covering the bands entire career. Whereas this one is best left for the absolute, most die-hard and committed collectors, like me, and even then, I’m never going to listen to it.

SAVATAGE Streets: A Rock Opera

Album · 1991 · Heavy Metal
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‘Streets: A Rock Opera’, released in 1991, is the sixth studio album by American metal band Savatage. It sees the band further develop their unique style which incorporates huge influences from musicals and classical music, and features a concept based on the rise and fall of fictional musician D.T. Jesus. Coming at a time when metal was becoming stale to mainstream fans, it was no doubt a risky move by the band to continue this route, but the end result is one of their most highly revered and well-received albums.

Riding a wave of momentum from their previous albums, ‘Hall of the Mountain King’ and its successor, ‘Gutter Ballet’, and once again continuing their working relationship with producer Paul O’Neill (who wrote the original story for the album), the band have hit their stride here, finding their niche and sounding more confident than ever before.

Wonderfully produced, the sound of the album evokes many moods throughout its diverse track list. From heavy rockers, to melodic tearjerkers, the production perfectly captures the essence and mood of each song. At times haunting and eerie, melancholic and depressing, or uplifting, head banging metal anthems, O’Neill has done a tremendous job of capturing the right vibe which suits the style of the band, and gives each member ample space to shine.

With songs such as ‘Jesus Saves’, ‘Somewhere in Time/Believe’, ‘Tonight He Grins Again/Strange Reality’, ‘Ghost in the Ruins’, ‘You’re Alive/Sammy and Tex’ and ‘Agony and Ecstasy/Heal My Soul’, there’s no shortage of Savatage highlights here. Along with Jon Oliva’s hauntingly passionate vocals and Criss Olivas classically-inspired guitar acrobatics, this is a pivotal album for the band, which would see them continue to ignore musical trends in favour of their own musical and artistic integrity, making ‘Streets: A Rock Opera’, a worthwhile addition to the collection of all rock and metal fans.

SAVATAGE Japan Live '94

Live album · 1995 · Heavy Metal
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This album is a perfect example of why I’ve always preferred studio albums to live ones. Savatage are without a doubt one of my all-time favourite bands, but ‘Japan Live ‘94’ just doesn’t do their music justice.

Recorded while touring for their 1994 album, ‘Handful of Rain’, this was a short-lived line-up of the band which was reeling from the tragic death of original guitarist Criss Oliva. With Zak Stevens totally owning it on vocals, and guitar master Alex Skolnick of Testament fame stepping in on guitars, the band members are on top form, and the performances from everyone are solid throughout.

The production is pretty good, and everyone can be heard clearly, however, there’re two things about this album that bug me. Firstly, I just feel that the album versions sound a lot bigger, grandiose and epic, especially as the studio can allow for multiple layers and dubs, whereas live, they all sound a bit flat. Secondly... ah... the audience... Like so many similar live releases, the audience at times just sound piped in. It’s when Stevens is talking and the crowd are constantly screaming and yelling, I know metal fans can be a rabid bunch, but at times it just sounds a bit fake (and if it isn’t, well... there’s always reason one to fall back on).

Coming at a time just as the band were starting to become more progressive, theatrical and bombastic with their music, ‘Japan Live ‘94’, (sometimes also known as ‘Live in Japan’) does have a pretty decent set list. With the likes of ‘Chance’, ‘Edge of Thorns’, ‘Gutter Ballet’, ‘Taunting Cobras’, ‘Jesus Saves’, ‘Watching You Fall’ and ‘Sirens’, there’s plenty of good material here, making this is a decent enough album, but as a whole, I think I’ll probably ignore it and just listen to the bands studio output instead.

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