Review

SAVATAGE Hall Of The Mountain King

Album · 1987 · Traditional heavy metal
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5/5 ·
Nightfly
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.

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