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




Progressive Metal

4.09 | 261 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Like some other prog metal from the eighties, this isn't traditional progressive rock. When compared to the music scene of 2005, it sounds more like rock than metal but back in 1991 this music would still be described as metal. The reason for that was the style the band had been playing on all previous albums. The sound is a mixture of eighties metal and orchestral progressive rock. Although the progressive influence is undenieable, it's only a progressive touch. Although Streets is based on very melodious piano parts nevertheless the dominant instrument still is the guitar. Even more interesting are the orchestral arrangements, never dominant but especially on calm breaks you'll notice that these wonderful orchestrations are spread all over the album. Another excellent ingredient are the haunting vocals of John Olivia, he never should have resigned from the vocal duties of this band which he did later on in the history of the band unfortunately. He's got a voice which does sound raw and powerful but also quite gentle in many moments. Most of all the fabulous compositions are top notch for rock music in general. Although the song structures are pretty conventional, the melodies keep sounding on in your head after you played this album a dozen times. Streets is a hell of an album. The key element is emotion which many other progressive albums lack.

The main theme of this album is the story of DT Jesus a musician who find himself living on the street. In more than one way this album seems the perfect successor of Gutter ballet which the band issued 2 years earlier. The band uses similar lyrical idea's but the progressive elements are more apparent here. The guitars do sound more polished and fit better in the overall sound. And then there's also the excellent production work. Another difference comparing with GB is that several songs with different atmospheres form a tight union. After all this is a rock opera in the true sense of the word.

And now for the tracks. Amongst my favourites are the perfect title track which opens the album. it sounds as a perfect introduction to a horror movie. "Jesus saves" has nothing to do with religious issues, it's one of the most accessible tracks the band has ever released. Thanks to the memorable melody this is one of the all time favourites for the fans and believe me there's a reason for that. "A little too far" is another highlight. Unusual for Savatage, this is a short, calm song with the piano in the main role. This proofs the songs work out fine without big guitar riffs, keyboards or massive orchestrations and any rhythm section at all. In fact, it sounds even better. Tracks like this are perfect to be included on a rock opera and that's what Streets is. "New york city don't mean nothing to me" is another musical like track. It starts of with gentle acoustic guitar and a stunning vocal melody line followed by some excellent guitar riffs. The closing song "Believe" has another stunning melody which recaptures a melody line from "when the crowds are gone" of GB, the band would continue to do this on the next albums. Really, no weak tracks are present here but some may sound too heavy for the average prog lover.

From a reference point of view the music is reminiscent to the best stuff of Alice Cooper for the melodies and the voice especially on the ballads. When hearing the combination of a piano and the rock song the name of Jim Steiman comes to mind and Queen must have been an influence for the vocal outbursts even though I'm not exactly a fan of that band and I do like this album.

I must say I'm particular fond of this album. I don't think anyone could deny its quality. Still it comes as no surprise not much people had reviewed this album till now. This isn't a perfect example of progressive rock but maybe that's a good thing. The best music is often a mixture of several different musical styles and Streets is no exception. And off course, you must like the idea of a rock opera to enjoy this kind of music.

Fishy | 4/5 |


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