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Jon Oliva's Pain - Festival CD (album) cover


Jon Oliva's Pain

Progressive Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I am not a big fan of such kind of heavy metal, but just used the possibility to listen this very freshly released album. No surprises.

Melodic heavy metal with some symphonic arrangements, very predictable if not stereotypic, too polished to be real heavy metal and not enough progressive to be good prog- metal. Many power metal elements make this music easy accessible, but with too strong commercial smell.

Vocal is strong, but not for everyone's taste, similar to early Udo's voice in Accept. Songs are melodic, but of very simple structure. Both guitars sound competent, though.

All album sounds as it was recorded somewhere in early eighties- stylistically and by musical arrangements. I think power metal lovers could be interested in it, but don't expect progressive element there. Early Accept/Udo albums as originals are better almost in all departments.

Almost 2,5.

Report this review (#267014)
Posted Friday, February 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I must say a few words about JON OLIVA's PAIN. Some people thinks about Progressive Music as something "as complex as it can get", and that's a very little artistic thought, not to mention the very limited view upon a music style that can be so much rich and daring.

JON OLIVA is a vanguardist Heavy Metal artist, on SAVATAGE, on DOCTOR BUTCHER, on TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA and, now, on his solo carreer. "Festival" is, in my opinion, a most direct and simple album, but it's far of being predictable or stereotypic. That's for sure.

Such a creative artist has always a new vision upon his own sound, and Jon Oliva shows us this, on each of his albuns. Less intense than his antecessor, and less bombastic than his debut, this new album still show us, however, JON OLIVA on his unique Heavy Metal, with strong lyrics and emotional arranges. Everything, i must say, put there under a very sensitive and innovative way.

Highly Recommended!

Report this review (#268976)
Posted Sunday, February 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Let met take a part in evaluating this album as well. I know your taste Slava (snobb) and I respect you a lot, but not everyone thinks like you. That's no offense, it's just that majority of people coming here will be less hardened in Prog terms and won't be so careful about what they like. More or less, I'm one of these, even also I began my transformation into something different, I hesitate more before rating something with extreme number of stars etc. That's life I suppose.

What we get here is quite Heavy Progressive Metal (most of the tracks), but that's no rule here, because you'll get also acoustic folk rock (Now) that transforms into Rock tune later (reminding me John Wetton's Icon a little bit). Rock-like ballad Winter Haven that again, ends in mixture of melodic Metal and Harder elements. Looking for nothing is also one of these, very acoustic, together with Afterglow, or at least certain parts of it.

4(-), Very eclectic album that has a lot to offer, of which main theme is Prog Metal. Except first two tracks which I don't like so much.

Report this review (#269114)
Posted Monday, March 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Average and ordinary

Being an acquaintant of Savatage's music, it was only a matter of time before I would find myself listening to some post-Savatage project of Jon Oliva. Trans-Siberian Orchestra was the first of them, but it proved to be an utter and complete disappointment in almost every possible aspect, so not much time after I have bought Night Castle I manage to exchange it at the store for Jon Oliva's Pain's fourth album, entitled Festival, which, by comparison, sounded like a mind-blowing album. However, the truth came to me after listening to it a number of times and comparing it with other albums I have.

As far as standard progressive metal goes (if there is such a thing), the compositions in this album are not dearing at all, staying at all times in the confort zone and having very few moments that are any surprising. Throughout the album you have that feeling that you have heard something similar, whatever the song that is playing; it constantly feels like you are listening to something you've already listened somewhere or sometime before. Furthermore, everything seems to be rather monochromatic and bland, even Jon's characteristical aggressive vocals sounds uninspired! If there is a way to describe this band's sound, I would say it is like a worsened version of Savatage mixed with some Black Sabbath and late 70's Pink Floyd.

That being said, I would like to point that there are not any bad song in Festival. They aren't extraordinary as well and do stay only in Jon Oliva's confort zone, but they are all quite listenable and don't have any further bad points besides not being special. It seems that there isn't anybody to chalange Jon creatively.

Due to that, I do believe that two stars would be the most fitting rating: only the fans (like myself) will enjoy listening to Festival.

Report this review (#513875)
Posted Saturday, September 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well, still remembering how I fell in love with Hall of the mountain king back in 87 I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Jon Oliva was still around making music, so I decided to give his solo band a try and almost randomly ordered one of their CDs, 2010 Festival. In the first place I would like to state that this is no progressive metal, but a heavy metal album to my ears. Sure there are time changes, solos and songs longer than your average rock four minutes, but that was something commonly done by metal bands in the eighties long before the term "progressive metal" was coined. Opener Lies starts with a classical reminiscent intro and quickly grows into a galloping metal song that's fine if not particulary exciting. The chorus reminds me of Genesis' Back in NYC quite a bit, and halfway through some changes make it a bit more interesting. Next comes Death rides a black Horse, which has a very Kashmir-like feel and is one of my favorite ones here, with a powerful chorus and a fine doubled guitar solo.The title song is another of the strong moments, the riffing is quite good and the melodies are very Savatage-ish, too bad Jon can't hit those high notes anymore!!. Afterglow is according to Jon's liner notes "by far the most complex song of the CD",unfortunately not all parts are equally good. starts like a folky ballad but I quite like the chorus, strong and backed by symph keys .The song features some strings in the middle and a more uptempo section that includes swing parts in the middle of the heavy riffing. Living on the edge is a standard midtempo metal song and Looking for nothing is an uninspired ballad.The evil within is a downtuned tune which according to Jon Oliva is VERY DARK. I quite like it, but i find not much to highlight, maybe the "dreamy" midsection with lots of guitars and a synth bass followed by a heavy riff that ends the song. Winter heaven is yet another ballad I can do without, while I fear you is a bit doomier, the best song in the second half of the album to my ears, where Oliva's tortured voice perfectly fits the dense atmosphere. Closer Now is yet another slow number. Liner notes state that parts of it were written when Jon was 18, so I guess he had enough time to come with something better that this one. All in all a fine album that's hardly going to atract anyone who's not into traditional heavy metal. The musicianship is good but not outstanding and is surprising to find out how many Criss Oliva bits were used on the songs if we take into account that he had been dead for almost 20 years. As for Jon's voice....well not as it used to be but still does fine for the most part. Not for prog lovers, not even prog metal freaks.
Report this review (#1290115)
Posted Saturday, October 11, 2014 | Review Permalink

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