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Savatage - Streets - A Rock Opera CD (album) cover

STREETS - A ROCK OPERA

Savatage

 

Progressive Metal

4.18 | 157 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
5 stars As you see from the name itself, this is Savatage's first real rock opera. It's also their first conceptual album (Dead Winter Dead, The Wake Of Magellan and Poets And Madmen are the other three). Again, they progressed with this album quite a lot, as they did with all the others from that era.

Coming off more progressive musical shift that was expressed in Gutter Ballet, Savatage takes the final step, and embraces in a full-on rock opera, entailing the tumultuous journey of a guitar prodigy named D.T Jesus. While the 80's power metal inclinations are still completely intact in several songs, the band clearly takes liberties with several "unmetal" tracks. Songwriting has always been a strong suit of the band, and this is Savatage at their best. The riffs are incisive, pounding the anger and vitriol of the mood in every chord. The solos are breathtaking as Criss Oliva skewers some of the most memorable and heart-wrenching ever put to record. Every song demands your absolute attention, and Jon Oliva gives a vocal performance of his life. This is the last featuring Jon Oliva on lead vocals (well, he sang Poets And Madmen, but that was 12 years later). He does a really great job. Every note, he sings from the bottom of his heart. J. Oliva isn't just vocalizing the part of D.T Jesus. He IS D.T Jesus. As always, his songwriting is also remarkable, as is Paul O'Neill's. Lyrics are a real poetry at times. As the standard is for Savatage, piano blends with guitars in song just perfectly. Doc and Johnny do their own job fine as the rhythm-machine.

This is brilliant stuff. Pure emotional and breath-taking metal all crammed into one awesome concept album. The album's concept is pure and simple, yet good: It's about a drug addict from the street's rise from dead-beat junkie to big time rock star.....and back again. Drugs get to him once again, people from his past come back to settle scores, all the while he's trying to fight some inner demons and find who he really is. Simple yes, but also genius.

Track-by-track guide:

Streets - Amazing. This song sort of sets up the tone, idea and setting for the story. Oh, that piece that the children's choir(which adds an extra level of haunting atmosphere) is singing at the beginning is an excerpt from "The Magic Flute", by the way . Good stuff.

Jesus Saves - This song gives you the background behind the main character, Downtown(or D.T.) Jesus. It has a cool voice acting part at the beginning, followed by a nice song with a catchy melody, courtesy of Jon Oliva's keyboards and Criss Oliva's awesome riffage.

Tonight He Grins Again - Sad stuff. Very sad. Nice piano playing by Jon Oliva, showing that Savatage can integrate the piano into a metal song like no other band. Good solo in here too. The lyrics are awesome as well!

Strange Reality comes in a pack with the previous song (oh, I forgot to say, that some versions have some songs glued together as one track, but that doesn't affect music much). It has a really catchy riff and a great verse part. A great heavy Savatage song.

A Little Too Far - A beautiful ballad that includes only piano and vocals, with some moving lyrics that can make any eye shed a tear.

You're Alive - This is up-tempo happy metal! Fits in with the with the story pretty well. No solo, but you can't have everything you want.

Sammy And Tex - This is a METAL song! Great speedy rocker that shows the anger and aggression that is within the part of the story this song represents. Kick ass riffage by Criss.

St. Patrick's - At first, I didn’t care for this song all that much , but after several listens, I can safely say that, although this is a great song, it is a grower. You might have to listen to it a few times to like it. At least I did. Great piano and excellent, thought-provoking lyrics about questioning the exsistance of God in this one.

Can You Hear Me Now - A nice power ballad, executed Savatage way. Great buildup, powerful verses and chorus, nice solo. What else could you want?

New York City Don't Mean Nothing - HERE WE ARE! A nice acoustic ballad-like opening, but man, once those drums and bass comes in, this song slowing mutates into a solid monster stomper of a song. Wow.

Ghost In The Ruins - Classic Savatage right here, folks. Here's another great, lean and mean Savatage rocker. This has some good bass lines by Johnny Lee Middleton, nice lyrics and this is also in a way, Criss Oliva's showcase song, because he's got a great extended solo where you can tell he's showing off!

If I Go Away - What a great ballad! Not only does this perfectly fit in with the album, but it's also a thought provoker: Why am I put on this planet, and what possible impact have I had on this world, the people in it and on myself? These things go through my head when I listen to this song. It's a powerful song, indeed.

Agony and Estcasy - Whoo! Another solid riff-driven rocker! This has a solid riff in it, and I just love it! Sorta reminds me of Savatage's old pure metal days.

Heal My Soul - The second of two piano and vocals only songs in this album. You can feel the pain of the old man dying on this song.

Somewhere In Time - It's so incredibly haunting. Very beautiful lyrics. It has almost a heavenly feel to it throughout. The song's messege is there are no easy answers, but there is always hope.

Believe - AMAZING! AMAZING! AMAZING!!! I can't express how great, brilliant, breath-taking and just moving this song is. This is the pinnacle of Savatage's ballads, it just doesn't get much better than this one, folks. The greatest lyrics the band has ever written are included here. The moral is to believe yourself and everything about yourself. Absolutely awesome climatic solo, great singing, and a guitar line that sounds almost like it belongs in a Christmas song. Incredible. Just Incredible. All the songs work much better within the context of the album, rather than individually, but it’s well worth it.

Very rarely do you come across an album so momentous, so emotional, so hard hitting, that it leaves you with an empty feeling after every listen. Streets is that type of album. It’s simply a masterpiece of grand proportions, and like wine, only gets finer with age. It will, without a doubt, always have a place in my heart. I couldn’t recommend this CD enough, so if you haven't already, go out and buy this album. If you don't, you'll be missing out on some of the most beautiful music ever created. It's your call. Check out "Streets: A Rock Opera", dive into it and hold the record to you for special musically moments in life!

album rating: 10/10 points = 99 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Marc Baum | 5/5 |

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