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Savatage - Edge of Thorns CD (album) cover

EDGE OF THORNS

Savatage

 

Progressive Metal

3.97 | 113 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Get ready for a gigantic portion of thick, stinking, faux-prog metal cheese of epic stature with this outstandingly campy, exciting, and wholly enjoyable album by SAVATAGE!

I have a soft-spot for iconic heavy-metal, and "Edge of Thorns" does everything it needs to to tug on my heartstrings. First, it's energetic, with genuinelly entertaining songwriting. The opening title track sets the majestic tone beautifully, giving way to the big, busy guitar work of Oliva and an ever surging momentum which carries through the entire album. As a whole, the band is very tight, not quite on par with currently popular prog-metal bands, but still quite good, and never burdened by the excessiveness of say... any of Dream Theatre's recent albums. Songs feature glimmers of symphonic nuance here and there (such as in piano interludes, and instrumentals) but largely feel stripped down, simplified, rockin', and very effective.

Oliva's guitar steps in and out of the spotlight tastefully, and his solo breaks are fantastic, with lightning dexterity and creative playing. They sometimes come with cool time signature changes as well, making them a real highlight of the album.

Of course, Zachary Steven's vocals are a big part of this album's success (or its abyssmal failure, depending on your viewpoint). He is every metal singer from the '80's condensed into a perfectly honed, screaming machine-- which makes "Edge of Thorns" feel very much like a relic of its days... but what fun! I was laughing out loud when I first listened because of the audaciousness of his vocals; they're so terribly excessive that they work, despite the triteness of the lyrical content. Just wait until the delightful "Scraggy's Tomb" comes up, and you'll probably agree with me.

Prog-metal snobs will probably not be impressed by the occasional concessions the band makes for accessibility and sing-along-ability... but the enthusiasm and talent demonstrated here more than makes up for its sometimes FM-oriented melodies. Realistically (or perhaps, "progressively") a 2 to 3 star release, but "Edge of Thorns" gets high marks from me because its simply so much fun to listen to! The awesome cover artwork is the icing on the cake.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |

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