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Savatage Streets - A Rock Opera album cover
4.09 | 262 ratings | 20 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1991

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Act I
1. Streets (6:50)
2. Jesus Saves (5:13)
3. Tonight He Grins Again (3:28)
4. Strange Reality (4:56)
5. A Little Too Far (3:25)
6. You're Alive (1:51)
7. Sammy and Tex (3:07)
- Act II
8. St. Patrick's (4:17)
9. Can You Hear Me Now (5:11)
10. New York City Don't Mean Nothin (4:01)
11. Ghost in the Ruins (5:32)
12. If I Go Away (5:17)
13. Agony and Ecstasy (3:33)
14. Heal My Soul (2:35)
15. Somewhere in Time (3:17)
16. Believe (5:42)

Total Time 68:15

Bonus track on 1997 reissue:
17. Desiree (acoustic version) (3:54)

Bonus tracks on 2002 reissue:
17. Ghost in the Ruins (live *) (5:20)
18. Jesus Saves (live *) (4:04)

* Recorded in the Netherlands 06/10/ 93

Line-up / Musicians

- Jon Oliva / vocals, piano
- Criss Oliva / guitars, backing vocals
- Johnny Lee Middleton / bass, backing vocals
- Steve Wacholz / drums & percussion

- Robert Kinkel / keyboards, children's choir conductor
- Abi Reid / backing vocals
- The Metropolitan Opera Children's Choir, NYC / chorus vocals

Releases information

Based on a book written by Paul O'Neill.

Artwork: Bob Defrin

LP Atlantic ‎- 7567-82320-1 (1991, Europe)

CD Atlantic ‎- 7 82320-2 (1991, US)
CD Concrete (2) ‎- 0089452 CTR (1997, Germany) With a bonus track
CD SPV GmbH ‎- SPV 74042 CD (2002, Germany) With 2 Live bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SAVATAGE Streets - A Rock Opera ratings distribution

(262 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

SAVATAGE Streets - A Rock Opera reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marc Baum
5 stars As you see from the name itself, this is Savatage's first real rock opera. It's also their first conceptual album (Dead Winter Dead, The Wake Of Magellan and Poets And Madmen are the other three). Again, they progressed with this album quite a lot, as they did with all the others from that era.

Coming off more progressive musical shift that was expressed in Gutter Ballet, Savatage takes the final step, and embraces in a full-on rock opera, entailing the tumultuous journey of a guitar prodigy named D.T Jesus. While the 80's power metal inclinations are still completely intact in several songs, the band clearly takes liberties with several "unmetal" tracks. Songwriting has always been a strong suit of the band, and this is Savatage at their best. The riffs are incisive, pounding the anger and vitriol of the mood in every chord. The solos are breathtaking as Criss Oliva skewers some of the most memorable and heart-wrenching ever put to record. Every song demands your absolute attention, and Jon Oliva gives a vocal performance of his life. This is the last featuring Jon Oliva on lead vocals (well, he sang Poets And Madmen, but that was 12 years later). He does a really great job. Every note, he sings from the bottom of his heart. J. Oliva isn't just vocalizing the part of D.T Jesus. He IS D.T Jesus. As always, his songwriting is also remarkable, as is Paul O'Neill's. Lyrics are a real poetry at times. As the standard is for Savatage, piano blends with guitars in song just perfectly. Doc and Johnny do their own job fine as the rhythm-machine.

This is brilliant stuff. Pure emotional and breath-taking metal all crammed into one awesome concept album. The album's concept is pure and simple, yet good: It's about a drug addict from the street's rise from dead-beat junkie to big time rock star.....and back again. Drugs get to him once again, people from his past come back to settle scores, all the while he's trying to fight some inner demons and find who he really is. Simple yes, but also genius.

Track-by-track guide:

Streets - Amazing. This song sort of sets up the tone, idea and setting for the story. Oh, that piece that the children's choir(which adds an extra level of haunting atmosphere) is singing at the beginning is an excerpt from "The Magic Flute", by the way . Good stuff.

Jesus Saves - This song gives you the background behind the main character, Downtown(or D.T.) Jesus. It has a cool voice acting part at the beginning, followed by a nice song with a catchy melody, courtesy of Jon Oliva's keyboards and Criss Oliva's awesome riffage.

Tonight He Grins Again - Sad stuff. Very sad. Nice piano playing by Jon Oliva, showing that Savatage can integrate the piano into a metal song like no other band. Good solo in here too. The lyrics are awesome as well!

Strange Reality comes in a pack with the previous song (oh, I forgot to say, that some versions have some songs glued together as one track, but that doesn't affect music much). It has a really catchy riff and a great verse part. A great heavy Savatage song.

A Little Too Far - A beautiful ballad that includes only piano and vocals, with some moving lyrics that can make any eye shed a tear.

You're Alive - This is up-tempo happy metal! Fits in with the with the story pretty well. No solo, but you can't have everything you want.

Sammy And Tex - This is a METAL song! Great speedy rocker that shows the anger and aggression that is within the part of the story this song represents. Kick ass riffage by Criss.

St. Patrick's - At first, I didn’t care for this song all that much , but after several listens, I can safely say that, although this is a great song, it is a grower. You might have to listen to it a few times to like it. At least I did. Great piano and excellent, thought-provoking lyrics about questioning the exsistance of God in this one.

Can You Hear Me Now - A nice power ballad, executed Savatage way. Great buildup, powerful verses and chorus, nice solo. What else could you want?

New York City Don't Mean Nothing - HERE WE ARE! A nice acoustic ballad-like opening, but man, once those drums and bass comes in, this song slowing mutates into a solid monster stomper of a song. Wow.

Ghost In The Ruins - Classic Savatage right here, folks. Here's another great, lean and mean Savatage rocker. This has some good bass lines by Johnny Lee Middleton, nice lyrics and this is also in a way, Criss Oliva's showcase song, because he's got a great extended solo where you can tell he's showing off!

If I Go Away - What a great ballad! Not only does this perfectly fit in with the album, but it's also a thought provoker: Why am I put on this planet, and what possible impact have I had on this world, the people in it and on myself? These things go through my head when I listen to this song. It's a powerful song, indeed.

Agony and Estcasy - Whoo! Another solid riff-driven rocker! This has a solid riff in it, and I just love it! Sorta reminds me of Savatage's old pure metal days.

Heal My Soul - The second of two piano and vocals only songs in this album. You can feel the pain of the old man dying on this song.

Somewhere In Time - It's so incredibly haunting. Very beautiful lyrics. It has almost a heavenly feel to it throughout. The song's messege is there are no easy answers, but there is always hope.

Believe - AMAZING! AMAZING! AMAZING!!! I can't express how great, brilliant, breath-taking and just moving this song is. This is the pinnacle of Savatage's ballads, it just doesn't get much better than this one, folks. The greatest lyrics the band has ever written are included here. The moral is to believe yourself and everything about yourself. Absolutely awesome climatic solo, great singing, and a guitar line that sounds almost like it belongs in a Christmas song. Incredible. Just Incredible. All the songs work much better within the context of the album, rather than individually, but it’s well worth it.

Very rarely do you come across an album so momentous, so emotional, so hard hitting, that it leaves you with an empty feeling after every listen. Streets is that type of album. It’s simply a masterpiece of grand proportions, and like wine, only gets finer with age. It will, without a doubt, always have a place in my heart. I couldn’t recommend this CD enough, so if you haven't already, go out and buy this album. If you don't, you'll be missing out on some of the most beautiful music ever created. It's your call. Check out "Streets: A Rock Opera", dive into it and hold the record to you for special musically moments in life!

album rating: 10/10 points = 99 % 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

Review by Fishy
4 stars Like some other prog metal from the eighties, this isn't traditional progressive rock. When compared to the music scene of 2005, it sounds more like rock than metal but back in 1991 this music would still be described as metal. The reason for that was the style the band had been playing on all previous albums. The sound is a mixture of eighties metal and orchestral progressive rock. Although the progressive influence is undenieable, it's only a progressive touch. Although Streets is based on very melodious piano parts nevertheless the dominant instrument still is the guitar. Even more interesting are the orchestral arrangements, never dominant but especially on calm breaks you'll notice that these wonderful orchestrations are spread all over the album. Another excellent ingredient are the haunting vocals of John Olivia, he never should have resigned from the vocal duties of this band which he did later on in the history of the band unfortunately. He's got a voice which does sound raw and powerful but also quite gentle in many moments. Most of all the fabulous compositions are top notch for rock music in general. Although the song structures are pretty conventional, the melodies keep sounding on in your head after you played this album a dozen times. Streets is a hell of an album. The key element is emotion which many other progressive albums lack.

The main theme of this album is the story of DT Jesus a musician who find himself living on the street. In more than one way this album seems the perfect successor of Gutter ballet which the band issued 2 years earlier. The band uses similar lyrical idea's but the progressive elements are more apparent here. The guitars do sound more polished and fit better in the overall sound. And then there's also the excellent production work. Another difference comparing with GB is that several songs with different atmospheres form a tight union. After all this is a rock opera in the true sense of the word.

And now for the tracks. Amongst my favourites are the perfect title track which opens the album. it sounds as a perfect introduction to a horror movie. "Jesus saves" has nothing to do with religious issues, it's one of the most accessible tracks the band has ever released. Thanks to the memorable melody this is one of the all time favourites for the fans and believe me there's a reason for that. "A little too far" is another highlight. Unusual for Savatage, this is a short, calm song with the piano in the main role. This proofs the songs work out fine without big guitar riffs, keyboards or massive orchestrations and any rhythm section at all. In fact, it sounds even better. Tracks like this are perfect to be included on a rock opera and that's what Streets is. "New york city don't mean nothing to me" is another musical like track. It starts of with gentle acoustic guitar and a stunning vocal melody line followed by some excellent guitar riffs. The closing song "Believe" has another stunning melody which recaptures a melody line from "when the crowds are gone" of GB, the band would continue to do this on the next albums. Really, no weak tracks are present here but some may sound too heavy for the average prog lover.

From a reference point of view the music is reminiscent to the best stuff of Alice Cooper for the melodies and the voice especially on the ballads. When hearing the combination of a piano and the rock song the name of Jim Steiman comes to mind and Queen must have been an influence for the vocal outbursts even though I'm not exactly a fan of that band and I do like this album.

I must say I'm particular fond of this album. I don't think anyone could deny its quality. Still it comes as no surprise not much people had reviewed this album till now. This isn't a perfect example of progressive rock but maybe that's a good thing. The best music is often a mixture of several different musical styles and Streets is no exception. And off course, you must like the idea of a rock opera to enjoy this kind of music.

Review by The Crow
5 stars "Streets - A Rock Opera" is just my favourite metal album... I bought it eight years ago, and it made me instantaneously be a Savatage's fan!

And I'm still tinking that "Streets" is the best Savatage's album, and the best metal opera ever made. After Queensr˙che's "Operation Mindcrime", Savatage came up with this true masterpiece, clearly surpasing the Seattle's band precedent... This album was the first metal album recorded in 92 tracks tapes. The Paul O'Neill production is just outstanding, really perfect... This fact allows this album sound great seventeen years after its release.

The musicanship is also superb... Jon Oliva's took all the characters of the album with his personal and broken voice, but with a lot of feeling and good taste. His pianos and keys are not ultra fast or very technic, but they are a great part of the Savatage's personality. Like the six Criss Oliva's strings, who made his best guitar performance here... How stunning and influential this guitarist was! You have only to hear the synthethised guitar sound in Strange Reality, and you will discover where Jon Petrucci took some of the guitar tricks he used on "Images and Words"... Dr. Killdrums and Johnny Lee Middleton are just perfect and solid in their respective instruments.

The style of the album is the Savatage's trademark... Symphonic hard rock, with elaborated instrumental passages. But maybe even more variated than the usual Savatage's standars. The album opens with a gothic feeling, thanks to this children choir and the keyboards sounding like bells in the song Streets. After this, Jesus Saves attacks with its killer and intrincated riff... This way, we enter on this carousel of pain, love, suffering, hope... And just great music!

There is symphonic metal (Jesus Saves, Can You Hear me Now...), 80's heavy metal (Sammy & Tex, Agony & Ecstasy...), hard rock bullets (Strange Reality, You're Alive...), melodic hard rock (Ghost in the Ruins), marvellous symphonic ballads (St. Patrick's, If I go Away, Believe...), Elton John influences (A little Too Far)... Even some acoustic folk elements in New York City Don't Meant Nothing!

For all this, this album is the Savatage's most variated... And in my opinion, here we have their best balance between ballads and hard tracks, between melody and strenght... And their best lyrics and concept! Paul O'Neill wrote a touching history (was he indirectly speaking about Jon Oliva?), maybe only surpased by the "Dead Winter Dead"'s one. And the lyrics are an important part of the album too... They touch rock, drugs and religion themes. But religion not in the way Neal Morse's do, but in a metaphoric and subtle way. "So people take care when you're chasing a dream in the night!"

Best songs: seriously... Every song in this album is just great.

Conclusion: what a wonderful disc! This is just the best metal album from the 90's, in my humble opinion. Really touching, funny, diverse... And a demonstration of musical, performance and production virtuosity. If you have not hear it, give it a try... You'll maybe discover one of the most underrated, influential and marvellous bands in the world! Pure genious.

My rating: *****

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is a well done, well thought out concept album about a character called D.T. Jesus. I must admit i'm not big on concept albums but SAVATAGE have kept the music at a high level and still tell a great story. For many this is SAVATAGE"s crowning glory and it's hard not to argue, especially with the Oliva brothers involved.

"Streets" featuers a children's choir to open only to be replaced by these haunting keys and a dark atmosphere. Jon comes in with his rough vocals almost speaking the words.The tempo starts to pick up and the choir returns backing him up. A good heavy mid-paced tune. "Jesus Saves" opens with this guy talking on the streets to people.The song kicks in powerfully with vocals. Gotta love Criss' guitar work on this one. Great chorus as Jon shouts "Jesus saves !". Check out the guitar 3 minutes in. "Tonight He Grins Again" opens with piano as Jon comes in sounding a lot smoother vocally, that does change as he gets passionate. "Strange Reality"" opens with these catchy riffs vocals join in. Check out Criss after 4 minutes. Just a killer track. "A Little Too Far" opens with reserved vocals sounding like Roger Waters with piano. "You're Alive" is an uptempo rocker. "Sammy And Tex" opens with fast paced riffs and vocals followed by some ripping guitar.

"St.Patrick's" opens with fragile vocals and piano before kicking in to a higher gear. "Can You Hear Me Now" opens with acoustic guitar, synths and drums. Nice sound as the vocals join in. It kicks in heavily before a minute. Contrasts continue. Incredible guitar before 3 minutes. "New York City Don't Mean Nothing" features strummed guitar and vocals. Cool sound. It kicks in after a minute. Nice heavy sound here. Criss lights it up 3 minutes in. "Ghost In The Ruins" opens with atmospheric guitar before kicking in heavily. Amazing tune right here. Jon is in fine form too. Check out Johnny Lee Middleton on bass 2 1/2 minutes in as Criss solos tastefully. Beautiful section. Jon returns spitting out the lyrics. "If I Go Away" opens with piano as vocals eventually join in. It gets fuller. "Agony And Ecstacy" sounds amazing to open with that guitar as Jon comes in theatrically.The tempo picks up and continues to shift. "Heal My Soul" is piano and fragile vocals. "Somewhere In Time" kicks in after a minute. This is emotional stuff. Great lyrics. It picks up after 2 minutes. "Believe" is the closing track and it has the most lyrics. And I have to be honest these lyrics bring tears to my eyes.

Rest in peace Criss. Bless you Jon and Criss' family. And thankyou for the music..

Review by Angelo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars

I've been changing, redefining...

I first heard about Savatage at the time they released "Hall of the Mountain King". In Dutch magazine Aardschok they were announced as 'the heaviest of them all', which at the time was very interesting to a 15-year-old metalhead. Later on, I got wiser...

Streets is the first attempt at creating a concept album, a rock opera as they claim, and to a certain extend it is their best. The other three (Dead Winter Dead, Wake of Magellan, Poets & Madman) were also good, but Streets has a number of pieces that just get stuck in your head. The story of repentant, musical drug addict and dealer D.T. Jesus is on my mind forever...

It's hard to pick out individual songs for me, I usually put up this album when I feel like sitting down for over an hour just listening - from beginning to end. However, besides the magnificent , haunting, title track, there are three little gems in there that are always tempting me to 'skip forward'. First is 'A little too far', a great ballad which at first I couldn't believe was Savatage. Well actually, it's just Jon and his piano of course. Second is the combined track (on my CD at least) You're Alive/Sammy and Tex. This is really a show case of what Savatage could do already with respect to metal, but taken to a different level. Loud, heavy, melodic and a perfect sound setting for the murder of D.T's best friend Tex. The transition from You're Alive to the hacking riff in Sammy and Tex is great, as well as the turn to the soft piano in follow up St. Patrick's - when D.T. realizes what went wrong. The music just perfectly reflects the mood changes in the story again. And that takes me to gem #3, again a combined track, Somewhere in Time/Believe. This song combines some of the overall mood changes and the musical capabilities of the band, it's my favourite Savatage track. Despair, and hope are the main messages of the song, and the guitar and piano of the Oliva brothers seem to be just perfect to express this message.

Yes, I got wiser, and this album somehow indicates the start of my next move. I didn't abandon my metal albums, but this one, together with Rush 'Moving Pictures' definitely opened my mental door for other options than hacking metal.

Review by b_olariu
5 stars AMAZING! AMAZING! AMAZING!!! I can't express how great, brilliant, breath-taking and just moving this album is. I consider this the best Savatage album, and with Sieges Even - A sense of change among the best of the early '90. This is real a rock opera not just a simple album, they have complex pieces, warm ballads, everything that needs to be a good album, and in the end a masterpiece of prog. I'm a big Savatage fan since 1993, when they relesed Edge of thorns, and i was blown away by how strong composition are, how complex but not to complex to get bored, but in the same time very melodic and catchy. The warm voice of Jon Oliva give to the album a new dimension, thats why he is considered one of the most prolific and inteligent musician in the last 20 years. The years go by i add to my colection the whole albums, i listened and i get to conclusion that Streets is the best Savatage album, in fact the whole albums are above the albums from that period. They went shoulder to shoulder with Queensryche in the '80, but in the end they won in the '90, Queensryche became more and more comercial. So i rate this album 5 stars and without doubt one of the best in prog. I can't choose a track because the whole concept is brilliant, all are super, well played and above all not boring like other stuff from the early '90. Get it now Savatage at the highest level.
Review by CCVP
4 stars Here, Savatage starts to clearly have some prog influence and to get really serious, but it still have some serious issues

Streets is yet another very important Savatage album. In fact, the albums Hall of the Mountain King, Gutter Ballet, Streets, Edge of Thorns and Handful of Rain are very important to the band's history and musical evolution, although these albums are definitely not Savatage's best, probably because in this phase the band was still consolidating its music and things were still a bit out of place, since Savatage was finally moving towards progressive metal, and Streets can easily be considered their first major step in the progressive metal world, though since Hall of the Mountain King some prog influence can be noticed.

Streets is so important because this album sets the pace for most of Savatage's releases after 93. Inspired by a Broadway play written by Paul O'Neill back in 1979 that Criss Oliva found stored in some forgotten drawer in O'Neill's home and suggested that it should be the next Savatage's album, Streets debuts Paul as one of Savatage's main composers and has the basic structure of all the band's next concept albums. Indeed, Dead Winter Dead, The Wake of Magellan, Poets and Madmen and Streets have the same basic skeleton, although not being incredibly alike.

One interesting note is that, besides this being a very good album, it had mediocre sales because this kind of music were widely regarded as out of fashion, mainly due to the raise of grunge in the early 90's.

The Concept

I only have have a vague idea about the concept, but it looks like that the main character (DT Jesus), was a low-life drug dealer from down-town New York, became a rock star, then he got in some serious trouble and had to disappear for a wile. He somehow managed to solve his problems and start his life again, but loses everything he had in the process.

About the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings i would like to state:

The music here doesn't differ very much from Savatage's two previous albums, except that here it is better worked and more diverse. I mean, here the production is a bit better, improving the album quality, and they explored more the different sides of their music, making the album sounds more diverse and complete.

However, here they have some issues. The biggest one, and the only i am really going to point out, are Jon Oliva's vocals. Sure they are nice for the songs that are more aggressive, but in the ballads and calm songs it sucks big time. His vocals are for heavy metal and not for metal ballads and because of that they completely ruin the normal ballads that he needs to sing gently, like A Little Too Far and St. Patrick's, among others, but his vocals are no problem in the power ballads, like Strange Reality and Can You Hear Me Now, also among others.

Th highlights go to: Streets, Jesus Saves, Tonight he Grins Again, Strange Reality, Can You Hear Me Now, Ghost In The Ruins, Somewhere In Time and Believe.

Grade and Final Thoughts

A very good release by Savatage that, besides some flaws, specially concerning Jon's Vocals, deserves a good grade. 4 stars seems fair for me.

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Streets (A Rock Opera)' - Savatage (4/10)

For an album of sixteen tracks, you would think there would be at least one song that really stands out, and could be called a really great song. Especially in the case of a highly acclaimed and influential band like Savatage, on one of their most popular albums. While people might think of this as a high and mighty album, I personally cannot find a reason why this album would be a masterpiece in the slightest.

What attracted me to this in the first place was the fact that it's a rock opera. Rock/Metal operas in the past I've listened to include the works of Ayreon, Avantasia's 'Metal Opera Pt I & II,' and Dream Theater's 'Scenes From A Memory' among many, many others. For the most part, I've found them very enjoyable, and the addition of a storyline to the music to bind it together is always a plus in my books...

But what we have here is an album that sounds like a more hard-rock oriented version of Journey at their most commercial and mainstream. While Savatage is a band that certainly has used progressive elements in their music, theres nothing to be seen here that makes me think 'wow, that was creative and original!' The storyline is sort of lame and feels like a happy and bouncy version of 'Operation: Mindcrime' (by Queensryche) minus the complex, psychological factors.

It's not braindead by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm sorry I can't agree with everyone else and say this is some magnificent masterpiece, because it honestly isn't. There's alot better for Savatage, and there's certainly alot better for progressive metal in general.

Review by Isa
4 stars |B-| Probably one of the band's most cohesive works.

This is a somewhat strange album for me to rate since I have somewhat mixed feelings on many of the tracks themselves, as well as the album as a whole. There are some truly fantastic moments and some somewhat average moments, but overall the album is quite satisfactory, and is probably the band's most cohesive efforts in terms of having consistency in the album as a whole. I actually slightly prefer this so most worshiped rock operas such as The Wall and Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. I've never been a fan of rock operas overall because I find most of them have enough filler to drive me insane, and I usually can't sit through them and don't want to. There's a bit of filler here too, but only a couple tracks here and there, and the tracks that are the best really soar. As well, this is the result of the transition of sound from the previous album, Gutter Ballet, having much more piano usage and a more theatrical and melodic approach. There is more clean guitar work that reminds me of Fates Warning a bit. Jon Oliva's clean vocals are a tad better than on the previous album, but they've always been a bit pitchy, which really irritates me sometimes. The production has improved a bit since the last effort as well.

The album really starts with a bang; Streets and Jesus Saves are among the best tracks on the album, near masterpiece material as far as I'm concerned. The next three tracks are very enjoyable and highly polished work as well, reminding me much of Tran-Siberian Orchestra's sound, for obvious reasons. The middle of the album slumps slightly with the average but decent Sammy and Tex as well as St. Patrick's. The following two tracks are quite decent, leading into Ghost in the Ruins, another very powerful track on the album, one of my favorite tracks by the band. If I Go Away is great, followed by my least favorite track on the album Agony and Ecstasy, somewhat obnoxious but good in a strictly metal sense. Heal my Soul is a delightful song, leading into the last two songs, Somewhere in Time and the fan favorite Believe, bringing a fantastic close to the album. Believe has some of the vocal part to When the Crowds are Gone on the previous album, probably one of the best melodies to come out of the eighties as far as I'm concerned.

A very satisfactory album, though a bit spotty and not the most progressive thing out there. These factors almost pushed it down to a three, but what partially pushed it up was the great story of the album, as well as those amazing first two ans last two tracks and Ghost in the Ruins. Very melodic, sometimes very metal, sometimes a tad poppy, this is a diverse album that still maintains consistency in sound, while at the same time each track has much uniqueness, a combination something seldom found in even many great works of prog. While I do prefer other Savatage works to this, especially the two previous albums, this is still an album any prog metal fan should have in his collection at some point.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I've been mentally preparing this review for quite some time now because it feels like I owe it to this album.

Streets was my introduction to Savatage and what a marvelous start it was. I remember that I had a tough time during my high school years and this was basically one of the few real highlights at the time that kept me going strong. The album tells a story which could be understood for the Rock Opera-part of the album's title and it's really one of the most ambitious recordings ever conceived by any rock band. Of course the original ambition was even grander and I recall reading that Streets was originally written as a 2-CD album with many more compositions and story narrations added between the tracks. Whether or not I would have found the album as exciting is difficult to say but one of these narration sections still exists in the opening of Jesus Saves and I find that particular part very enjoyable. Unfortunately Savatage had many battles with their record company and this whole ordeal became a huge issue which finally resulted in a half way agreement between the two parties. Many of the songs that didn't make it on the final album were later re-written and featured on the band's later releases. The only one complete outtake that I know of that remains in its original demo version is the track Desiree and is a bonus track on The Wake of Magellan. It's an excellent power ballad on the same level as many of this album's peaks and shows just how much creativity they had during this period.

The conceptual theme of the album has still managed to maintain most of its essential elements although it has been cut to a single CD format. The overall message of this rock opera is all about keeping the faith, never giving up and most of all believing in oneself. It might seen simplistic and maybe even pretentious to anyone who seeks something deeper but it's that brutal honesty of the story that touched me and many others who consider Streets to be Savatage's finest hour!

Besides the whole conceptual aspect of this album there are quite a few memorable songwriting moments featured here as well. There is just not a single weak moment and it's clear that the band's transition from a straight forward Heavy Metal sound, that was still apparent on Gutter Ballet, was now complete. There are still a few heavier moments here but they don't have that raw energy and terrible recording quality. Instead all of the elements have now been fused properly with the individual performances.

I could easily do a track-by-track walk-through but at the end of the day what most of us remember the most from Streets are those breathtaking ballads. I'm not talking about one or two spectacular moments but instead a total of seven top-notch power ballads all on one single release. There is just no reason to release a best-of album since all you need is on this CD!

In my preparation for this review I was chocked to realize that I haven't actually heard this album in its entirety for at least two years and it was truly a blast revisiting it. I've really got carried away with this album for the last few days. I'm still listening to it even now while writing this review and it's my 5th time over the course of these past two days! Many of these compositions are so powerful and dramatic that I can't help but sing along to many of the songs. Let's just say that if a Karaoke version of Streets was ever released then I would be the first in line.

Although this albums limited prog rock credentials I have to give Savatage credit for branching out their Heavy Metal music in a direction that most bands would have considered suicidal for their career. After all, isn't being progressive all about taking risks by pushing the music forward and always being on the lookout of new possibilities? Well, that's at least how I see it and therefore award Streets the highest possible praise. It's an amazing roller-coaster ride that I recommend with all my heart!

***** star songs: Jesus Saves (5:13) A Little Too Far (3:25) St. Patrick's (4:17) Can You Hear Me Now (5:11) If I Go Away (5:17) Heal My Soul (2:35) Somewhere In Time (3:17) Believe (5:42)

**** star songs: Streets (6:50) Tonight He Grins Again (3:28) Strange Reality (4:56) You're Alive (1:51) Sammy And Tex (3:07) New York City Don't Mean Nothing (4:01) Ghost In The Ruins (5:32) Agony And Ecstasy (3:33)

Review by Warthur
4 stars With vocalist Jon Oliva's Alice Cooper-inspired delivery honed to perfection and the band in good form, Savatage's Streets: A Rock Opera is an enjoyable listen which may get a little cheesy here and there (especially on concluding track Believe) but is entertaining enough to let me just about accept the cheese. From the opening skit, which manages to pitch itself perfectly between theatrical flair and realistic grit, the band manage an impressive tightrope act which ensures that no aspect of their sound from the progressive to the cheesy to the balls-out heavy goes wanting for attention, making this a well-rounded album which should have wide appeal to a broad range of listeners.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Streets: A Rock Opera" is the 6th full-length studio album by US, Florida based heavy/power metal act Savatage. The album was released through Atlantic Records in October 1991. There's been one lineup change since the release of "Gutter Ballet (1989)" as second guitarist Chris Caffery has left, making Savatage a four-piece again. "Streets: A Rock Opera" is a concept album telling the story of troubled rock star DT Jesus. The story is based on a play (titled "Gutter Ballet") that producer Paul O'Neill had written in 1979 and which he had originally intended for a Broadway musical. It remained in a drawer in his house until Criss Oliva found it, and the band picked it up and turned it into "Streets: A Rock Opera".

"Streets: A Rock Opera" sees Savatage developing their style once again. "Gutter Ballet (1989)" saw them incorporating elements from musicals, orchestration, and just a generally more sophisticated and detailed songwriting approach than before. That musical direction is continued and further developed on "Streets: A Rock Opera". The basis in the music is still heavy/power metal with the rare nod towards progressive metal. The progressive tendencies are more due to the overall concept of the release, than due to the compositions themselves, which are predominantly vers/chorus structured. Savatage challenge conventional songwriting here more than ever though and at times the tracks are relatively adventurous, although you won't be exposed to long instrumental parts or other progressive metal traits. Keyboards/piano play a more dominant role on this album than on any Savatage release before it, but they rarely function as a lead instrument. They are rather used for atmosphere, orchestration, and harmonization.

Musically "Streets: A Rock Opera" was the most diverse Savatage release up until then. It's a highly dynamic release featuring both heavy/power metal tunes like "Jesus Saves" and "Agony And Ecstasy", heavy mid-paced epic tracks like "Streets" and "Ghost In The Ruins", up-tempo energetic rockers like "Sammy And Tex" (that swing rhythm is infectiously catchy) and "Strange Reality", epic power ballads like "Tonight He Grins Again" and "If I Go Away", and shorter ballad type tracks like "You're Alive" and "Heal My Soul". All musical styles and songs are placed strategically on the tracklist to make most impact along with the concept story.

"Streets: A Rock Opera" is a well produced album, featuring a powerful, detailed, and clear sound production, which suits the music perfectly. The musicianship is as always on a high level. The rhythm section of drummer Steve Wacholz and bassist Johnny Lee Middleton are a hard pounding machine, who drives the music forward with great energy and passion, while guitarist Criss Oliva plays one great catchy riff after another and also delivers blistering solo work. Lead vocalist Jon Oliva sings with both his commanding rusty voice and in a more sensitive fashion, but always with a great melodic sensibility. His performance here is both varied and very well executed.

So upon conclusion it's safe to say that "Streets: A Rock Opera" is a very impressive high quality release. The concept isn't the most original as artists like The Who and Pink Floyd (just to mention a few) have done similar things in the past, but it still works reasonably well, as Savatage skillfully combine music and lyrics into a great whole. Even with 16 tracks and a full playing time of 68:33 minutes, the album never feels long and there's nothing on the album which feels unnecessary or doesn't live up to the high quality of the rest of the material. This is through and through a well thought out, well executed, and well produced album. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.

Latest members reviews

4 stars 26th January, 2022: Savatage - Streets (heavy metal, 1991) One of those albums where my enjoyment of it comes with quite a few buts. I mean, it's a glam metal rock opera from 1991, if that doesn't start you off on bad note already. But there are just so many good melodies and riffs in this thin ... (read more)

Report this review (#2689618) | Posted by Gallifrey | Saturday, February 5, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 'Streets: A Rock Opera', released in 1991, is the sixth studio album by American metal band Savatage. It sees the band further develop their unique style which incorporates huge influences from musicals and classical music, and features a concept based on the rise and fall of fictional musician ... (read more)

Report this review (#2108518) | Posted by martindavey87 | Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Jesus Saves What a superb album! Savatage, one of my favorite power metal bands, has released many good albums, but this, by far, is one of the best. To add to the great guitar and keyboard work, it is a concept album. I tend to like concept albums more, since they have a story and you can foll ... (read more)

Report this review (#386214) | Posted by The Block | Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 5 stars for the album due to the outstanding music, lyrics and concept. personally, Savatage can always convey a sense of honesty and originality in their works and this album come on top. When I 1st listened to I was 18 and the lyrics back then was really inspiring.. Jon's vocal qualities in in ... (read more)

Report this review (#177077) | Posted by Eed | Thursday, July 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars One of prog-metal's leading concept albums, released shortly after Operation: Mindcrime yet years ahead of it. Savatage have not gained the respect and recognition deserving of a band of their talents in the prog or metal worlds. This album shows a quantum leap ahead in their career, incorporati ... (read more)

Report this review (#80136) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Friday, June 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Band: Savatage Album: Streets (1991) Genre: Power-Progressive Metal Line-up: Jon Oliva (Vocals/Keyboards); Criss Oliva (Guitars); Steve Wacholz (Drums); Johnny Lee Middleton (Bass) Grading Scale: 0 - F; 1-5 - D(+/-); 6-10 - C(+/-); 11-15 - B(+/-); 16-20 - A(+/-) Most notable ... (read more)

Report this review (#63812) | Posted by | Sunday, January 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An interesting album, it deserves much more attention. Savatage was a straight US power metal band in the eighties, but after the release of the "Hall of the Mountain King" album, they started to change their style and with the helping hand of Paul O'Neill, it turned to a more melodic and musica ... (read more)

Report this review (#45024) | Posted by riversdancing | Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is simply one of the greatest, most underrated albums of all time. Whether you're into hard music or not, there is something here for everyone. Although the actual storyline itself is nothing more than a rehashed tale of a rock star gone bad in the city, the music makes it into a grand e ... (read more)

Report this review (#27424) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 25, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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