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POETS & MADMEN

Savatage

 

Progressive Metal

3.83 | 80 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Crow
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The last Savatage's album to date... And their last masterpiece too.

When "Poets and Madmen" appeared in 2001, a lot of people called it a transition's album. Singer Zachary Stevens quitted the band a year before, and guitarist Al Pitrelli did the same to join Megadeth (later he would return, but Savatage is not working today, so he is plenty dedicated to Trans-Siberian Orchestra...) So although here are some Al Pitrelli's solos, most of the work was make by Chris Caffery. And his agressive style of playing is very evident in the album, making "Poets and Madmen" the most powerful release since "Hall of the Mountain King". Jon Oliva had to assume the vocals duties on this record... And he did great! This was a big surprise to the Savatage's fans, because the last Savatage's album in wich Jon sung, was in "Streets", ten years before... His eerie and broken voices fits perfectly with the darker and heavier sound of this album!

After the release of "Poets and Madmen", Savatage went to a great tour. They recruited the outstanding singer Damon Jiniya and the Metallium's guitarist Jack Frost (he quitted the band when Al Pitrelli returned...) And maybe this is the reason why the people called it a transition's album. But I don't think so... It's just a different album with an evident line-up change since the previous album. But it's still Savatage as its best!

This album is more agressive, but the symphonic elements are still very present. Songs like Morphine Child, Stay with Me Awhile and Surrender have very symphonic arrangements... Maybe is not as orchestral as the two previous releases, but I think it's more progressive. The songs are more variated than any other Savatage's album, with abrupt rythm changes, and very different moods inside every song (except Drive). You only have to hear the killer track Commissar to realize... A very operistic beginning is broken with a killer riff and the agressive voice of Oliva. After the last chorus, comes a sections really really variated, with splendid solos... Sureley, this album is prog.

Best songs: I really like every song of the album, is a very complete offering, and it deserves been heard in its integrity, because this album tells a story (pretty nice one) But it's a more "song oriented album" than the other Savatage's rock operas. So you can really enjoy every track separately... And if I had to choice, the best tracks for me are: Stay With Me Awhile (perfect beginning, a summary of what you will find in the whole record), Commissar (killer track, really catchy and with an outstanding guitar sound), Drive (short track, not really progressive, but very catchy and exciting), Morphine Child (the best song of the album, a mini-opera, with the typical Savatage's choirss at the end...), Man in the Mirror (my favourite of the album, outstanding chorus and final section...), Surrender (another progressive track, with great piano playin and riffing... The ending is epic too) and Back to a Reason (the ballad of the album, but a bit different of the rest of Savatage's ballads, really stronger...) I almost mentioned every track! Ok, the rest are pretty cool too... The Rumour has great acoustics and good rythm changes, Awaken a very catchy bass lines, I seek Power is the heaviest song of the album, even with some gutural shouting by Mr. Oliva, There in the Silent has very good riffing too and original synthethisers sound... Sorry, but this album has not fillers!

Conclusion: the return of Jon Oliva to the voices could had not been better... The Chris Caffery guitar playing gives and extra power to the Savatage' s sound. Really, this album has some of the better riffs I've ever heard! The story about the photographer Kevin Carter is pretty nice too, like the lyrics (Paul O'Neill is definitely a great writer and even better producer) A flawless album, very indicated for all the people who missed a heavier and progger sound in the Savatage's album from the 90's!

The Crow | 5/5 |

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