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Savatage - Edge of Thorns CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

4.02 | 157 ratings

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Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
5 stars "Edge Of Thorns" is a huge turning point for Savatage in so many ways. What was initially meant to be a record of new beginnings later became the record of one big ending. The ending in the form of the last record of one of the best guitarists of our time, Mr. Criss Oliva, who passed away soon after Savatage finished the tour for this album. This record is Criss' swan song and a great epitaph to one of the greatest musicians who ever walked the earth.

Well, I mentioned before, that this record has a handful of new beginnings. The most significant one is that Mountain King handed his vocal duties to Zachary Stevens. I was a little bit sceptic about the thing at the start, since Jon is such a great singer, but hell, Zakk grew on me in no time. His voice isn't as powerful as Jon's and he sounds a bit softer than him, but he really puts all of his emotions in his singing and he has a great voice color.

And like as they would knew that ''Edge'' would be Criss' last record, Savatage decided to make a guitar based record, different from orchestra/piano based Gutter Ballet and especially Streets. You couldn't say that Edge Of Thorns is a ''back to the roots'' record, though. It's somewhere between their early works and their later works with Stevens.

Nevertheless, this record has a fair share of everything: slow piano intros and ballads, powerful choruses, great solos and riffs and even some occassional thrashy moments (just check the break in He Carves His Stone). The production is great, but then again, I've never heard a Savatage album with bad production. Criss' playing has again evolved a lot on this album. His riff ideas are still catchy as hell, and his solos and leads are better than ever on here. There is actually quite a lot of reverb used on here, but it suits awkwardly awesome into the music. The intros are usually Jon's piano parts, but he also plays along with Criss' chords most of the time, which gives the music some sort of depth and melody. Doc and Johnny make a good rhythm section, especially Wacholz puts on a great drum performance, with lots of fills and great beats.

The overall feel of the record is great. It is an expirience, not just a record! There are some beaufitul and touching moment and there are some total power monsters.

Highligts? Huh, all of them, except maybe the solid, but in songwriting terms by Sava- standards average "Skraggy's Tomb". But the most memorable stuff is: the powerful choruses of the title piece and "Follow Me", touching balladry of "All That I Bleed" (they usually play this one live for Criss) and "Sleep", also the uncomparable "Conversation Piece" with it's mind-blowing chorus or the pure punch of "Damien"!

This is definitely an extraordinary record from the (in my book honestly) greatest Metal band of all time and a great purchase in every way. But In respect of an proghead's ears I say listen to the album first, because it may be not proggy enough for you. I can't give this record any less than 5 stars though, since I rate/review an album in terms of quality, not how proggy an album is. It's all about the music, don't forget. And it really can't go much better than this excellent stuff here. Cheers!

R.I.P. Criss Oliva...your work will live on 'til all eternity, specially for those who are loyal to this uncomparable band.

album rating: 9.5/10 points = 96 % 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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