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




Progressive Metal

3.88 | 156 ratings

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Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Yes! After the disappointing "Fight For The Rock" album, Savatage returned back to their power metal-style and how they did: Jon Oliva sings, shouts and screams better than ever before and the old fans who were not happy with FFTR turned back and HOTMK was the breakthrough for the band in the United States.

"Hall Of The Mountain King" is a classic, which has even outdone their superb debut album Sirens. Being a follower of a album, which was a slight downfall, Savatage needed a really strong, powerful and recognizable record. And they made it. HOTMK is the last truly heavy/power metal album from Savatage. It’s successor, Gutter Ballet was much more symphonic and piano/ballad oriented and Savatage never returned to such raw heavy metal, which they played on the first records. So, HOTMK is featuring quite fast, developed and guitar oriented heavy/power metal with a great atmosphere. Yes, heavy metal with atmosphere, you’ve read it right. It gives the record that nice dark and maybe a bit doomy vibe. Exactly like in a hall of the mountain king.

So, yes, this is really guitar oriented. No piano, except some keys in the intros. And as you know, kids, Mr. Criss Oliva is a guitar god. And doesn’t fail to deliver yet again. Great catchy riffs, excellent leads and that Maiden runs between the verses. Awesome. He really has some awesome ideas and you discover something new (some fills, little melodies…) every time you listen to the CD. Jon Oliva is great. I can’t imagine, how one could not like him. He has that great voice, emotional, aggressive and interesting at the same time. He also makes some great high pitched screams. And his songwriting skills are amazing. Songs have great structures and are really catchy. Lyrics are also cool, but they don’t achieve the greatness of, let’s say, the ones on Gutter Ballet or one of the later records. Doc handles the drums. He produces some good rhythms, but this is heavy metal, don’t expect anything really special. Johnny Lee Middleton doesn’t play much of a role on this one, he just supports the drums most of the time.


24 Hours Ago - It is pure tention, the guitar create elastic & cutting riffs and solos allucinating, the voice reach the highest level of desperation screaming.

Beyond the Doors of the Dark - The darkest track of this album; a placid & cristallic intro broken by heavy & dramatic riff, obscure choirs of key and the screching and the fury of the voice of Jon Oliva.

Legions - Midpaced, dark crowlin' song with a double filtered voice.

Strange Wings - An heavy classic mid tempo semi ballad, with a strange weird and placid atmosphere, in which the vocals became majestic similar to hard rock and classic metal of the '80 (but never boring and effeminate).

Prelude to Madness - is a classical theme with keyboard & guitar of the classical opera from which derived the title of the album.

Hall of the Mountain King - Legendary epic, atmospheric & sabbathian, and the maximum level of the singer interpretation, that often storms with his dark laughters.

The Price you Pay - Sour, gloomy and melodic at the same time.

White Witch - Fastest song, my least favourite on the album but still catchy as hell (as usual in the first Savatage period).

The last Dawn - A classical passage of chorus guitar without distortion, very profound & atmospheric.

Devastation - In its riffs remember Sabbath's Children of the Grave & Hole in the Sky. A dark, powerful closer of a incredible power metal album.

This album transude the taste of the '80 Metal and it's atmosphere is a meeting between an american rock Horror film of those years and the darkness of a cave or a lake on a gelid mountain. Simply put, HOTMK is a Savatage classic. It’s a metal classic. It’s a great CD. You won’t be sorry if you buy this one. The next milestone "Gutter Ballet" put the band on map in progressive/symphonic direction.

album rating: 9.5/10 points = 94 % 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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