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Savatage - Dead Winter Dead CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.82 | 154 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars For a long time, I have been a fan of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but wished that they would focus their efforts more on concepts like Beethoven's Last Night - you know, the concepts that aren't Christmas. I've known for some time that they were the next step for a metal band called Savatage, and I finally took the time to listen to a Savatage album with Dead Winter Dead. It seemed like a logical step, as this is the album that eventually lead to Trans- Siberian Orchestra, when the track "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" became a minor hit and the band realised they could fuse metal and holiday music to succeed.

Well, other than that track name this album has nothing to do with Christmas. The plot follows the lives of two characters on the opposite side of a civil war that arose after the fall of the Berlin wall. One is a man and the other is a woman, so there is a bit of a hint that it's sort of a romance but it's not quite so romantic. In fact, the two are strangers until the very end of the album. Each end up involved in the civil war, believing their side to be right. After setting up the context, the two camps reach Sarajevo, where an old man, horrified at what has happened, sets it upon himself to be a reminder of peace by going to an old building every night and playing his cello, despite the danger to himself. This continues for some time, until one night (Christmas Eve) his music stops. Both the man (who had been considering deserting after seeing children slaughtered by his side) and the woman go in search of the old man, finding his corpse at the same time. Disgusted by the war, they run away together.

Simple story, really not the best I have heard but at least it's about something other than Christmas. The ending isn't very satisfying because the characters didn't really know each other and because we never really got to know either character particularly well throughout the album (especially the female character), but it is entertaining enough.

If you are a fan of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, let me sum up this bands sound in 4 words: less Christmas, more metal.

If you are not, then this can roughly be described as a heavy metal rock opera. The guitar is nice and melodic (the focus is not chugging), the synths create a symphonic texture, and the vocals are theatrical. Every song is entertaining, with highlights including Starlight, Dead Winter Dead, and the instrumental tracks (Mozart and Madness, Christmas Eve). There aren't really any dud tracks, which is good. The vocals aren't quite as varied as Trans-Siberian Orchestra, with only two vocalists existing on this album, both of whom are male, but they work well enough to tell the story and separate characters.

TheGazzardian | 3/5 |


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