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Savatage - Ghost in the Ruins / Final Bell CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.27 | 36 ratings

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4 stars Live album of early Savatage, featuring songs up through their Gutter Ballet album. It's pretty much a live greatest hits of their '80s music. Both Jon Oliva and Chris Oliva are performing their hearts out--vocals and guitar work are both intensely emotional. I never had the opportunity to see Savatage live. The closest I ever got was TSO's Beethoven's Last Night tour in March 2010. Or perhaps listening to this album is the closest I'll ever get.

My version of this album has two bonus tracks, most notably an acoustic version of "Stare Into The Sun," sung by Jon Oliva. The original was released on "Handful of Rain" in 1994 and was sung by Zak Stevens. This live album was released as a tribute to guitarist Criss Oliva, who died in 1993. Of course Jon Oliva had his brother in mind when he wrote and performed "Handful of Rain" and no doubt he also had him in mind when he recorded this version of "Stare Into The Sun."

I can't say I love all the songs here. As far as studio albums go, I don't care for most their '80s albums (the lone exception being their 1989 album "Gutter Ballet"). But there are several songs here that I do love. Their live versions of "Strange Wings," "Gutter Ballet," "When The Crowds Are Gone," "Sirens," and "Hall of the Mountain King" are all fantastic. There's so much energy here, so much emotion, so much excellent musicianship. A rare live album, in that it's an essential album for fans of the band. 4 stars.

Idaho | 4/5 |


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