SAVATAGE — Streets: A Rock Opera (review)

SAVATAGE — Streets: A Rock Opera album cover Album · 1991 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
The Block
Jesus Saves

What a superb album! Savatage, one of my favorite power metal bands, has released many good albums, but this, by far, is one of the best. To add to the great guitar and keyboard work, it is a concept album. I tend to like concept albums more, since they have a story and you can follow the movements and different parts of it which adds to the overall enjoyment of the album. This is also one of Savatage’s more progressive albums, and I like prog metal more than any other.

The album takes us through DT (Downtown) Jesus’s life as a low life. He is hit by hard times, and then gets thrown onto the streets where he becomes a drug dealer. He rises out of the trash heaps of New York City as a guitarist for a band he forms. He soon gets into a quarrel with the other band members and leaves. His life, though sad, is frighteningly similar to that of lead singer Jon Oliva’s at the time.

Since it is a concept album, it is hard to pick out specific “best songs”, since they all blend so well together. Also, almost every song is absolutely superb, so picking a best one would be near impossible. But, one song that stood out to me is “Jesus Saves”. I like the opening skit, with a homeless guy stopping a passerby to tell him about DT Jesus, because it leads nicely into the main theme. The nice heavy guitar riffs give it that power metal feel, but it’s not that cheesy sound that most power metal bands offer up. This sound is very unique and good. Jon Oliva’s grainy voice, while by itself I might not like it, fits in very well in this song. Steve Wacholz does a great job drumming on this track and guitarist Chris Oliva does a good job, too. Another reason why I like this song is because it sums up the whole theme of the album into one song. It quickly hints at both DT Jesus’s rise and fall.

One other song of mention is “Believe” which is the softest song on this album. It is a very uplifting and joyful song, which really rounds out the whole album. I like the beginning of the song when Jon Oliva’s voice is very soft because he has a very nice voice that blends in very well with his piano playing. The song eventually gets more metal, but this song might be one of my favorite because it is softer. It is also more catchy then the other, except maybe “Jesus Saves” which has a relatively simple chorus.

The simplicity of this album makes it what it is. While some parts are more complex like “New York Don’t Mean Nothing”, but most of it is simple metal. But, Savatage does it in such a way that it seems complex. I can easily remember most of the songs on this album and it sticks in my mind, which is one of the reasons I keep playing it over, and over. For a great progressive power metal album Savatage gets 4.5 stars.
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