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Jon Oliva's Pain - Maniacal Renderings CD (album) cover

MANIACAL RENDERINGS

Jon Oliva's Pain

 

Progressive Metal

2.87 | 23 ratings

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Alitare
3 stars More metal, more flash, but is it deeper?

In a way, yes. There is more diversity here, than on the debut. Not to mention it seems everyone has gelled together very nicely as a band. This shines very clearly on the absolute beast opening Through The Eyes of the King. The solos are furious, and the stomping rhythm is fantastic. Not to mention Jon stretches his vocals well. The record is also more progressive than the last. Maniacal Renderings has that delicious symphonic metal flair we are used to, but it has great segments and riffing. The solo section is quite captivating, where the guitars trade off with a keyboard.

Still a bit bare, the songs could be a bit more complex or challenging, but they all have solid melodies, and the playing is phenomenal. Acoustic guitar lines begin Evil Beside You, feeling almost like a folk rock ballad. Oliva always fit that part well. Then it turns into a theatrical piano rocker with teeth. The thick monster Time To Die roars out with its menacing howls of metal fervor. It isn't too complex, but my it kicks various levels of ass. More Broadway balladry follows with The Answer. The lyrics are cynical, and not the deepest, but they suffice. The music is solid, and the composition is strong, if a bit bland. Push It To The Limit is absolutely pounding. And is that lyrical reference about a White Witch? Either way, it is a stomping song.

Who's Playing God shows that while the songs are stronger over all, the lyrics have taken a small hit. Still not bad, though. The metal here is given in spades. And the vocal harmonies are even more expertly crafted. Timeless Flight has some of the most captivating melodies on the album. Not to mention the operatic balladesque piano interludes are very pretty. Holes has to have the most original and catching riff on the album, and it is quite interesting.

Mixing the songs into a sort of rocker/ballad style keeps the record from getting caught up in one overall tempo or atmosphere. And End Times is quite the superb track. Jon's voice has weakened, but can still show some bite. Still I Pray closes in the way the last album closed. The melodies are strong, and the playing is grand.

The record sacrifices some originality for a bit more depth overall, the melodies seem more skillfully crafted, but a bit less affecting. It is on par with the last release. Still, when it rocks it rocks harder.

(The bonus tracks are ballad types, that are quite beautiful at times)

Best song - Timeless Flight

Worst Song - Still I Pray, although all the songs retain a moderate level of decency.

***1/2 stars

Alitare | 3/5 |

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