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Savatage - Hall Of The Mountain King CD (album) cover

HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING

Savatage

 

Progressive Metal

3.83 | 95 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars SAVATAGE's first album in my collection was this one, "Hall of the Mountain King". As such, it would be fair to review it first.

A word of attention should be given to anybody wanting to explore this band's progressive-metal output: this album is hardly progressive at all. What we have here is good power-metal with some interesting passages that, more in a conceptual way than a musical one, show some hints at progressiveness. By the last tracks of the record the music goes even further backwards when it covers NWOBHM territory, sounding very similar to IRON MAIDEN but without the flashy double-guitar work or the mighty riffs and bass lines. A good band to compare SAVATAGE with, at this point of their career, would be QUEENSRYCHE, another group that was hardly progressive musically, but which released a masterpiece of heavy-metal conceptual music ("Operation Mindcrime") and became a legend in the prog-metal subgenre.

Most of the songs are rather typical power-metal ones with some excellent riffs (like the one in the first track, "24 hours ago") and very few quieter sections. In fact, the music is very constant in its features: hardly do we have changes in tempo or time signature in here, with the probable exception of "Legions". SAVATAGE chose to play a metal-version of GRIEG's "In the Hall of The Mountain King" from the "Peer Gynt" suite in the track previous to the title one, "Prelude to Madness." The results are not that brilliant, and I feel the band should've stick to their original music.

The recording is clear but with that cardboard-ish sound of 80's-metal productions. The musicianship is good, especially the guitars which steal the show. The vocalist really tries to emulate Bruce Dickinson at times, but sometimes his voice is uniquely his own. When he reaches the highest registers he's capable of (and in falsetto), his voice sounds a little like LED ZEPPELIN's Robert Plant's.

This album is good and it deserves a chance in a metal-fan's collection. But in a progressive-metal fan's one, there are discs that have to come first, even some by this very same band. Without the great melodies and concept of "Operation Mindcrime", this pseudo-progressive-metal record fails to achieve classic status as that former album did. SAVATAGE would find their place in the subgenre later on, but in 1987, their recording was just a good, 3-star heavy- metal album.

The T | 3/5 |

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