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Savatage - Handful of Rain CD (album) cover

HANDFUL OF RAIN

Savatage

 

Progressive Metal

3.78 | 69 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Rock solid '90's prog-metal, complete with forward thinking songwriting which distances it from its mainstream peers, along and enough heavy-metal crunch to satisfy my need for cheesy bombast within the genre. While overall a fun listen, Handful of Rain is a far cry from being anything other than artistic heavy-metal, with just enough ambition to make it a little bit prog.

The album opens with what is probably its weakest song, "Taunting Cobras" (awesome title, though!). This is Handful of Rain at its most banal: big, fat, crunchy chugging over iconic sounding metal lyrics. Not bad, certainly, but hardly remarkable. The next four songs are all good, with "Change" standing out as this album's finest example of artistic songwriting. In each of these songs there are examples of straight-forward, enjoyable metal, nuanced with ambitious songwriting and structures. Another powerful highlight is the intense "Nothing Going On", which strikes a relentless momentum with its guitar riffing and solos. There are few songs which feel contrived, and even fewer that sound like sing-along anthems; these are complex and serious-sounding tunes, fortunetly spread across this consistant album.

However, the instrumental performances lack the virtuosity to fully complement the songwriting, so the end effect feels somewhat unfinished. Skolnick's guitar is smokey and soulful, and while effective doesn't deliver anything memorable. The rest of the band is merely up to expectations. Zach Steven's vocals stand out though, thanks to a flavorful, gruff, intense delivery. Lyrical content is actually pretty smart, and the emotional strength of the songs, such as the heavy-metal farewell "Alone You Breathe", occasionally hit home. I found Savatage's Edge of Thorns a more entertaining listen overall though.

All in all a fun, if somewhat light-weight, prog-metal release. Still, listerners who can appreciate anacronistic fun in a heavy-metal style will find a lot to like with Handful of Rain.

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

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |

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