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SAVATAGE

Progressive Metal • United States


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Savatage biography
See also:

- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- John Oliva's Pain

Great band from New York formed by brothers Jon/Chris Oliva that started in 1981 under the name of AVATAR, and late in 1983 change the name to SAVATAGE, date when they released his first work "Sirens". At the beginning of their career the musical style was oriented to classic 80īs Heavy Metal, but in 1989 they change a bit his music introducing more keyboards and giving a symphonic/metal sound to his works. "Sirens", "Dungeons Are Calling" and "Hall Of The Mountain King" are the most notable albums of the early period. In 1989, with the change of sound they released "Gutter Ballet" an album with very god reviews that was follow with a long tour, after this, the release two albums more, "Streets" in 1991 and "Edge of Thorns" in 1993, this year was also a tragic date, because this year a drunk driver killed Chris Oliva, one of the founded members, but after this the band returns with a new album "Handful Of Rain", maybe a bit harder than the previous, but with the same symphonic/metal sound follow with the release of a live album in Japan and a Chris Oliva tribute album with songs recorded live from they early period.

1995 was the real change of sound and the beginning of a great concept albums, with the release of "Dead Winter Dead", a concept album about Sarajevo War, with the collaboration of a orchestra on the album, this album was follow with two compilations and in 1997 "The Wake Of Magellan" saw the light, a great concept album about "Fernando De Magallanes" and one of the best or the best symphonic/orchestra/metal albums ever made, this album was also the last album with the Zak Stevens (lead singer since "Edge Of Thorns"), but the band returns in 2001 with another concept album called "Poets And Madmen" with a similar sound to the 1989īs "Gutter Ballet", and the return to vocals of Jon Oliva, original member and lead singer from "Sirens" to "Streets".

Besides SAVATAGE, most of his members play on a side-project called TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, a orchestra-metal band with three albums, first two oriented to Christmas sound and the last one is a concept album about Beethoven music (this one especially recomended). Also exist another side-proje...
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Hall of the Mountain KingHall of the Mountain King
Import
Ais 2011
Audio CD$7.06
$7.34 (used)
Gutter BalletGutter Ballet
Import
Ais 2011
Audio CD$8.92
$6.90 (used)
Dungeons Are CallingDungeons Are Calling
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$9.63
$7.10 (used)
Dead Winter DeadDead Winter Dead
Import
Edel Europe 2011
Audio CD$7.07
$5.00 (used)
Poets & MadmenPoets & Madmen
Import
Ais 2011
Audio CD$6.79
$6.79 (used)
Still The Orchestra PlaysStill The Orchestra Plays
Import
earMUSIC 2010
Audio CD$5.99
$10.46 (used)
Fight for the RockFight for the Rock
Import
Edel Europe 2011
Audio CD$7.15
$7.31 (used)
Power of the NightPower of the Night
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
Audio CD$10.82
Ghost in the RuinsGhost in the Ruins
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
Audio CD$7.65
$7.67 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
SAVATAGE Japan 10 tracks CD, HANDFUL OF RAIN USD $29.99 Buy It Now
Savatage 'Fight For The Rock' LTD Ed 1000cop Pic LP Picture Disc Vinyl Record EX USD $32.54 Buy It Now
Savatage 'Power Of The Night' LTD Ed 1000cop Pic LP Picture Disc Vinyl Record EX USD $37.19 Buy It Now
Savatage Edge Of Thorns CD AOR MELODIC ROCK USD $2.11 [0 bids]
USD $4.99 Buy It Now
CHRIS CAFFERY - FACES 2004 1PR 2XCD SET NEW! SAVATAGE TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA USD $7.99 Buy It Now
SAVATAGE - GUTTER BALLET USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $8.22 Buy It Now 25m 29s
SAVATAGE/LIZZY BORDEN BEST OF CD LOT HEAVY METAL 1980s thrashing USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1h 18m
SAVATAGE "Power of the Night" Cassette USD $6.99 Buy It Now 2h 53m
Vintage Savatage Gutter Ballet Cassette Tape HAIR METAL NEW USD $7.49 Buy It Now 3h 20m
SAVATAGE-POWER OF THE NIGHT*ATLANTIC 1985*MASTERDISK*HARD HEAVY METAL*EXCELLENT USD $6.26 [2 bids]
5h 4m
Savatage Dead Winter Dead Cassette Tape 11z USD $6.00 Buy It Now 5h 22m
Savatage - The Power Of The Night - Original Vintage Promo Badge USD $6.51 Buy It Now 5h 38m
Savatage Still The Orchestra Plays Greatest Hits CD new jewel case USD $11.25 Buy It Now 8h 28m
Savatage - Poets And Madmen + 2 (Japan CD) Autographed by Jon Oliva USD $69.95 Buy It Now 8h 57m
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Beethoven's Last Night CD Savatage USD $5.99 Buy It Now 9h 34m
SAVATAGE 'Fight For The Rock' Original 1986 1st Pressing SEALED LP USD $24.99 Buy It Now 10h 33m
Savatage - Handful of Rain [New CD] USD $10.05 Buy It Now 11h 29m
Savatage - Dead Winter Dead [New CD] UK - Import USD $11.02 Buy It Now 11h 29m
METAL Promo CD Helloween-Blind Guardian-Savatage-Angel Dust-Hammerfall-Sentenced USD $4.95 Buy It Now 12h
Savatage - Dead Winter Dead [New CD] UK - Import USD $9.79 Buy It Now 15h 37m
Savatage - Handful of Rain [New CD] USD $9.94 Buy It Now 15h 37m
ATTICK DEMONS Let's Raise Hell + 1 JAPAN CD Iron Mask Deadlyforce Savatage USD $24.50 Buy It Now 16h 20m
Savatage + HQ Marquee Club Returns 23/7/86 USD $13.05 Buy It Now 18h 35m
CD SAVATAGE Edge Of Thorns - Release 1993 - Excellent condition !!! USD $13.00 Buy It Now 23h 4m
SAVATAGE - THE WAKE OF MAGELLAN - 13tr 2LP - GER 1997 - 1st PRESSING USD $95.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - GUTTER BALLET NEW CD USD $11.23 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE Handful Of Rain + Dead Winter Dead CRCL-4781/82 CD JAPAN NEW USD $124.75 Buy It Now 1 day
Mad Trax 2 Beyond Metal Zone By Metallica Surgin Savatage UK G/F 2x LP ELP1281 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Chris Caffery - W.A.R.P.E.D (CD, Sep-2005, Black Lotus (USA) DIGIPAK SAVATAGE USD $4.83 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - DEAD WINTER DEAD CD 1995 JAPAN ZERO XRCN-1249 USD $16.19 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - Poets & Madmen CD 2001 SPV STEAMHAMMER IMPORT + 2 POSTER USD $17.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - STREETS A ROCK OPERA CD 1994 JAPAN OBI AMCY-712 ATLANTIC RARE USD $16.71 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - The Wake of Magellan (CD 1997) JAPAN OBI VICP-60079 VICTOR USD $17.59 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - WAKE OF THE MAGELLAN CD 1997 LIMITED EDITION POSTER SLIPCASE USD $17.59 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage : Dead Winter Dead CD USD $5.42 Buy It Now 1 day
POWER CHORDS CASSETTE 1987 OVERKILL RAVEN SAVATAGE TESTAMENT MALICE MANOWAR USD $2.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Handful of Rain by Savatage USD $1.54 Buy It Now 1 day
Dead Winter Dead by Savatage (CD, Oct-1995, Atlantic (Label)) USD $5.59 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage Gutter Ballet CD USD $6.69 Buy It Now 1 day
CD Savatage Gutter Ballet Atlantic Recording 1989 USD $3.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage - Dead Winter Dead (CD, Oct-1995, Atlantic) USD $10.95 Buy It Now 1 day
Power Chords Vol 1 LP Atlantic/Megaforce Compilation Anthrax Overkill Savatage USD $7.69 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage - Dead Winter Dead Japanese CD / XRCN-1249 / +1 Bonus Track USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage - Power Of The Night - 1985 Vinyl 12'' Lp./ VG+/ Hard Rock Metal USD $23.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE -POETS & MADMAN - CD WITH BONUS TRACK USD $6.18 Buy It Now 1 day
@ CD SAVATAGE - POETS AND MADMEN / STEAMHAMMER RECORDS 2001 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE The Best And The Rest VICP-60166 CD JAPAN 1997 NEW USD $78.43 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - COLLECTOR'S EDITION USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $20.51 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE *HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING* VERY RARE 1987 LP!! NEAR MINT! USD $1.57 [2 bids]
1 day
SAVATAGE - THE DUNGEONS ARE CALLING CD 1994 Metal Blade Lost Tracks 3984-14075-2 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage - Edge Of Thorns (CD) USD $6.17 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE Hall of The Mountain King vinyl LP 1987 Atlantic Records SEALED USD $75.00 Buy It Now 2 days
savatage edge of thorns vinyl lp 1993 atlantic mint first press nwobhm style USD $235.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Poets & Madmen [Digipak] by Savatage (CD, Dec-2011, Ear Music) USD $6.68 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage-Ghost in the Ruins CD NEW USD $14.24 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage: Streets A Rock Opera CD 1991 Atlantic Records A2 82320 / CRC Original USD $9.95 Buy It Now 2 days
Power Chords Volume 1 Cassette Tape Anthrax Ace Frehley Savatage Testament... USD $2.49 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE Hall Of The Mountain King (CASSETTE TAPE, 1987) FREE SHIPPING! USD $8.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Sirens/Dungeons Are Calling: Complete Sessions - Savatage (CD Used Very Good) USD $9.37 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Power Of The Night (cassette) USD $6.00 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE FIGHT FOR THE ROCK LP 1986 DMM PRESS NM TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA USD $21.99 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE THE BEST & THE REST + 2 BONUS TRACK JAPAN CD OBI 2520yen VICP 1ST PRESS USD $35.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Sirens & Dungeons Are Calling: Complete Session [New CD] UK - Import USD $9.50 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Sirens & Dungeons Are Calling: Complete Session [New CD] UK - Import USD $11.37 Buy It Now 2 days
Destiny Faire - Destiny Faire (SAVATAGE) BRAND NEW USD $29.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Dead Winter Dead by Savatage (CD, Oct-1995, Atlantic (Label) pre-owned NICE USD $2.00 [1 bids]
2 days
Poets & Madmen - Savatage [Audio CD] 727361661823 USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Sirens & The Dungeons Are Calling: The Complete Session [Digipak] by Savatage... USD $7.25 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE Streets A Rock Opera WPCR-15927 CD JAPAN 2014 OBI USD $67.72 Buy It Now 2 days
@ CD SAVATAGE - STREETS: A ROCK OPERA / ATLANTIC 1991 / PROG METAL USA JAPAN+OBI USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
NEW SEALED CD:U.D.O-24/7(mastercutor,accept,udo,savatage,helloween,dio)no lp USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE GUTTER BALLET CD FROM 1989 ORIGINAL PRESS CD ATLANTIC RECORDS USD $18.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Poets And Madmen (Cassette) Russia SEALED USD $6.39 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage / USA 1990 ORG A5 USD $59.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Edge of Thorns (1993) USD $3.91 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage / Gutter Ballet JAPAN AMCY-27 1ST PRESS!!!!! C5 USD $29.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage / Streets: A Rock Opera JAPAN AMCY-304 ORG!!! C5 USD $34.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Sirens [Limited] by Savatage (CD, Apr-2002, Metal Blade) USD $3.09 [1 bids]
3 days
Savatage / Handful of Rain JAPAN OOP!!!!! *J USD $19.99 Buy It Now 3 days
The Wake of Magellan by Savatage (CD, 1998, Atlantic Recording Corporation) USD $2.39 [1 bids]
3 days
Dead Winter Dead by Savatage (CD, Oct-1995, Atlantic (Label)) USD $3.29 [0 bids]
3 days
Savatage: Gutter Ballet CD 1989 Atlantic 7 82008-2 Original Hair Metal Rock USD $10.49 Buy It Now 3 days
Savatage: Streets A Rock Opera CD 1991 Atlantic Rec. 7 82320-2. Hair Metal Rock USD $10.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Savatage: In the dream 12" vinyl record 1c USD $40.00 Buy It Now 3 days
SAVATAGE - IN THE HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING - 12" VINYL LP A1/B1 Nr Mint USD $52.17 Buy It Now 3 days
CHRIS CAFFERY - FACES ( Digipack 2 CD, Black Lotus 2004 ) From Savatage *Sealed* USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
CHRIS CAFFERY - MUSIC MAN ( Digipack CD-EP, Black Lotus 2004 ) Savatage *Sealed* USD $4.99 Buy It Now 3 days
DOCTOR BUTCHER - DOCTOR BUTCHER (DIGI. 2CD, Black Lotus 2005) SAVATAGE *Sealed* USD $12.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Handful of Rain by Savatage (CD, Aug-1994, Atlantic (Label)) USD $8.54 Buy It Now 3 days
THE WAKE OF MAGELLAN by SAVATAGE (CD) USD $8.54 Buy It Now 3 days
SAVATAGE - THE WAKE OF MAGELLAN 2 VINYL LP NEW+ USD $32.69 Buy It Now 3 days
Japan Live '94 by Savatage (CD, Nov-2000, Nuclear Blast) USD $2.59 [1 bids]
3 days
Edge of Thorns by Savatage (CD, Feb-1993, Atlantic Recording Corporations (USA)) USD $3.09 [1 bids]
3 days
Handful of Rain by Savatage (CD, Aug-1994, Atlantic (Label)) USD $5.99 [0 bids]
3 days
Poets & Madmen by Savatage (CD, Apr-2001, Nuclear Blast) USD $2.49 [0 bids]
3 days
Gutter Ballet by Savatage (CD, Jan-1990, Atlantic (Label)) USD $3.29 [1 bids]
3 days
Hall of the Mountain King by Savatage (CD, 1987, Atlantic (Label)) USD $3.99 [1 bids]
3 days
Streets: A Rock Opera by Savatage (CD, Oct-1991, Atlantic (Label)) USD $4.25 [2 bids]
3 days
Savatage Streets A Rock Opera digipack CD new 2011 remaster USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Savatage-Live In Japan U.S. CD Nuclear Blast NBA6720-2 USD $9.99 [0 bids]
3 days

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SAVATAGE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SAVATAGE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 62 ratings
Sirens
1983
3.20 | 62 ratings
Power Of The Night
1985
2.25 | 55 ratings
Fight For The Rock
1986
3.90 | 132 ratings
Hall Of The Mountain King
1987
4.02 | 160 ratings
Gutter Ballet
1989
4.16 | 203 ratings
Streets - A Rock Opera
1991
4.03 | 149 ratings
Edge of Thorns
1993
3.86 | 93 ratings
Handful of Rain
1994
3.86 | 133 ratings
Dead Winter Dead
1995
3.84 | 132 ratings
The Wake of Magellan
1998
3.85 | 97 ratings
Poets & Madmen
2001

SAVATAGE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 17 ratings
Japan Live '94
1995
4.60 | 27 ratings
Ghost in the Ruins / Final Bell
1995

SAVATAGE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.86 | 9 ratings
Japan Live '94
1995

SAVATAGE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.59 | 8 ratings
From the Gutter to the Stage
1996
1.92 | 3 ratings
The Best and the Rest (Japanese Greatest Hits)
1997
2.00 | 2 ratings
Believe (compilation)
1998
3.50 | 6 ratings
Still The Orchestra Plays - Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2
2010

SAVATAGE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.21 | 28 ratings
The Dungeons Are Calling
1985
2.33 | 6 ratings
One Child (single)
1996
3.14 | 7 ratings
Commissar
2001

SAVATAGE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fight For The Rock by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.25 | 55 ratings

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Fight For The Rock
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars Aw no... What happened here?!

Savatage were doing so well after the release of 'Power of the Night', an album that gave them real credibility in the metal community, so how do they follow it up? With a hard rock album!

Granted, there were circumstances in play beyond the band's power that forced 'Fight for the Rock' into being, and in all fairness it's not as terrible as it's often made out to be by fans, but it certainly sticks out like a sore thumb among the groups discography. And my God, that cheesy as hell cover doesn't help matters!

Despite the AOR-inspired compositions, Criss Oliva's trademark riffing is still firmly in place, and brother Jon Oliva's vocals still soar as powerfully as before. But for the most part, the songs just don't have that same spark that previous releases did. The "metal " energy just isn't there. And while some of the songs are still fairly decent, there's just a lot of generic 80's cheese to sift through first.

Let's try to be optimistic for a moment though, and look for the positives. 'Fight for the Rock' itself is a pretty good song, and a rerecorded 'Out on the Streets' is a nice treat, though not really one anyone in particular asked for. 'The Edge of Midnight' is a solid Savatage track, if you can just tolerate its awful keyboard intro, and 'She's Only Rock and Roll' has some vintage Savatage riffing going on. But there's also some complete drivel such as 'Day After Day' and the fact that almost every song has some incredibly God-awful 80's synths going on. Can't win 'em all, I guess.

Thankfully this would remain nothing more than a small blip on Savatage's radar, as they would quickly go on to return to their original metal sound and release some of their finest music. Buy this one if you're a collector, shut up, accept it for what it is, and let's all just get on with our lives.

 The Dungeons Are Calling by SAVATAGE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1985
3.21 | 28 ratings

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The Dungeons Are Calling
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars After the release of their 1983 debut, Savatage were quick to follow up with this EP, 'The Dungeons Are Calling', that consists of songs that were originally recorded for 'Sirens', but left off due to time restraints.

Overall the selection of tracks is good, but these are pretty much leftovers from the bands previous release, and that's exactly what they sound like. 'City Beneath the Surface' and the title track are standout songs that prevents this EP from being a complete waste, but the rest of the songs are pretty average, especially when compared with Savatage's later material.

As with their first record, the production could be better, but it's raw, grittiness suits the music perfectly, giving it a distinctive 80's metal sound.

'Dungeons' has since been released with 'Sirens' on one CD, "how it was meant to be", according to Savatage mastermind Jon Oliva, which is probably just as well, because as a stand-alone release, I don't think there's much worth picking up here unless you're a dedicated member of the Savatage Legion.

 Power Of The Night by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.20 | 62 ratings

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Power Of The Night
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Savatage's second album, and third overall release, is an improvement upon its predecessors, with every aspect of 'Power of the Night' being a step up from what the band had done before. The songwriting was more confident, the musicianship was more mature, and the production was a lot more polished, giving the album that perfect 80's metal sound (and there's nothing wrong with 80's metal dammit!).

The most obvious highlight here is the title track, which not only stands on its own merits as one of the bands better songs before they went all "classical metal", but honestly, it's one of their finer songs period. And while other tracks such as 'Warriors', 'Hard for Love' and 'Unusual' may be standard 80's metal pomp and circumstance, they're still pretty kickass anthems that indicate the talent and potential within this band.

Guitarist Criss Oliva truly shines here, showing a mastery that should have put him on par with heroes such as Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen, but whom sadly that legendary status had always eluded him. His flair for dramatic guitar playing is truly amazing to listen to, and fans of 80's metal (there's that term again), including subgenres such as power and thrash metal, will enjoy this shred masterclass.

If you're a Savatage fan (cheesily referred to as "Savafans", I believe), then 'Power of the Night' belongs in your collection. It's not the bands best work by far, but it's an early indication of the quality of music they were capable of writing, and would certainly establish them as a band worth keeping an eye on.

"Raise the first of the metal child".

 Sirens by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.04 | 62 ratings

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Sirens
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Before they became comfortable releasing rock operas full of theatrics and orchestrations, Savatage were a straightforward heavy metal band, who's debut album 'Sirens' caused a small buzz when it was released in 1983, but has since been lost in time, swept under the rug of the then-rising thrash metal scene.

'Sirens' may not be as epic, complex or majestic as the bands later material, but it's raw and gritty sound perfectly encapsulates the energy of the bands performances. Song's like 'Scream Murder', 'Holocaust', 'I Believe' and the title track are all fantastic examples of early 80's metal, and it's an absolute tragedy that this album has become not much more than a hidden gem in the metal landscape.

The music, sound, and overall vibe of this album is very reminiscent of Randy Rhodes-era Ozzy Osbourne, with the production and songwriting just oozing everything 80's. Jon Oliva's shrill vocals along with brother Criss Oliva's guitar virtuosity puts them both miles ahead of all the young players coming out of the thrash scene of the time. What this albums lacks in aggressiveness and attitude, it more than compensates for with melody and enthusiasm.

'Sirens' is nothing groundbreaking or unique, it's just a straight-up metal album which spawned the careers of one of the genres most beloved cult bands, and should be in the collection of every metal fan.

 The Wake of Magellan by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.84 | 132 ratings

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The Wake of Magellan
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Savatage's return to narrative concept albums on Dead Winter Dead was strong enough to prompt another concept - this time, a suicidal sailor taking his boat out to the deep ocean, only to find new reason to live. This time around, they dial up the progressive aspects of their music, creating the most prog metal thing they'd put out for quite some time. It's not super-proggy by any means - don't be fooled by the nod to Dream Theater in the liner notes - but Jon Oliva lets himself get more indulgent with his keyboard work and song structures, yielding an enjoyable light-prog metal experience.
 Dead Winter Dead by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.86 | 133 ratings

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Dead Winter Dead
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With Criss Oliva suitably memorialised on the previous album and Jon Oliva having grown into the lead songwriter role and able to once again become an official full member of the band, Savatage's Dead Winter Dead finds them offering a sober, more mature take on the rock opera style they'd tried out on Streets. Taking as inspiration the bitter civil war raging at the time in Bosnia, the album tells a Romeo and Juliet-esque story of love crossing community boundaries. It isn't fun and games and frolics by any stretch of the imagination, but instead offers exactly the sort of serious consideration the subject matter at hand calls for.
 Handful of Rain by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.86 | 93 ratings

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Handful of Rain
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Handful of Rain is the first Savatage release after the death of Criss Oliva, and as might be expected of a piece recorded hot on the heels of such a tragedy it's rather overshadowed by it.

The supposed lineup of Zak Stevens, Alex Skolnick, Johnny Lee Middleton and Steve Wacholz that is promoted as appearing on the album does not tell the whole story; in fact, Wacholz was so shaken by Criss' death that he left the band entirely and didn't take part in the recording process, and whilst Johnny Lee would stick around he was far too upset to face going into the studio to play Savatage music so soon.

As a result, much of the album ended up resting on the shoulders of Jon Oliva, who at this point in time wasn't even supposed to be a full member of the band, having worked on Edge of Thorns solely as a co-producer and guest musician. With Jon doing most of the instruments and composing most of the music (along with a brief snippet cowritten with Criss and several tracks cowritten with Paul O'Neill, who was coproducing), all that was left was for a fresh-out-of-Testament Skolnick to come in to do the guitar solos and Zak to get coaxed back into the studio to deliver the vocals.

These difficult circumstances are reflected in the final product; it's a bit more of a muddled production and less strong and distinctive than preceding Savatage albums, since the production process seems to have been mostly undertaken by Jon and Paul as part of the grieving process. You're effectively listening to Jon step into the main songwriter role solo, whereas previously he'd been largely contributing to songs in collaboration with Criss, and it's to Jon's credit that the album ends up sounding as good as it does, but it's no classic and very much a transitional piece.

 Edge of Thorns by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.03 | 149 ratings

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Edge of Thorns
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars On a certain level, Edge of Thorns is doomed to be forever known as the final Savatage album to feature Criss Oliva before his tragic death, so it's just as well that it sees Criss Oliva take a good share of the spotlight - partly as a by- product of Jon Oliva stepping back from being an official member of the lineup. New lead vocalist Zachary Stevens takes up the baton adeptly - the track Conversation Piece, in particular, gives him a moment to really show what he can do on that front - whilst Criss' prominent lead guitar performance makes this album a fitting memorial to his talents.
 Gutter Ballet by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.02 | 160 ratings

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Gutter Ballet
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Deploying some orchestral and keyboard hits to their grandiose style of US power metal might make you think that Savatage were running a risk of descending into flat-out pretentious pomposity, but on Gutter Ballet they walk the tightrope magnificently. Not quite going into prog metal territory but certainly letting off warning shots at its borders, not so much going full symphonic metal with the orchestral elements but instead using the strings to add a certain much to their more traditional power metal style, Savatage juggle numerous musical ingredients with skill and produce an album which is simultaneously punchy and nuanced, accessible and intricate.
 Handful of Rain by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.86 | 93 ratings

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Handful of Rain
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Handful Of Rain" is the 8th full-length studio album by US, Florida based heavy/power metal act Savatage. The album was released through Atlantic Records in August 1994. Thereīs been one lineup change since the release of "Edge Of Thorns (1993)" as guitarist/composer Criss Oliva died in a tragic car accident (involving a drunk driver behind the wheel of the other car) in October 1993. Older brother and lead vocalist Jon Oliva had already jumped ship before the recording sessions for "Edge Of Thorns (1993)" (he was replaced by Zachary Stevens), so "Handful Of Rain" is the first Savatage release not to feature at least one of the Oliva brothers in the lineup (although Jon remained the primary composer along with producer Paul OīNeill, and also performs session piano on the album). Criss Oliva is replaced here by former Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick.

So how does Savatage sound with none of the two Oliva brothers in the lineup? Well it sounds unmistakably like Savatage. While Skolnick could never replace Criss Oliva (no one could have...), he is a very capable guitarist and his contributions to the album suits the compositions perfectly. As far as the material goes, there hasnīt been much change since "Edge Of Thorns (1993)". The tracks maybe lean a bit more toward musical territory and they are maybe slightly less heavy tracks than on the predessecor, but itīs details, and overall "Handful Of Rain" is through and through the sound of Savatage.

As the case has been on the last couple of albums, the material on "Handful Of Rain" is relatively diverse, and there are both really heavy tracks like "Taunting Cobras" and "Nothing's Going On" and more epic (though still heavy tracks) like the title track and "Castles Burning", featured on the album. There are also more progressive oriented tracks on the album like "Chance", which is definitely one of the most progressive tracks in the bandīs discography, heavily influenced by musicals and featuring a multi harmony counterpoint vocal section (not completely unlike what you hear on some Queen songs). The closing "Alone You Breathe" deserves a mention too. Itīs a slow building power ballad type track, which in itīs long coda uses lyric lines from "When The Crowds Are Gone" (off "Gutter Ballet (1989)") and "Believe" (off "Streets: A Rock Opera (1991)"). As Frank Zappa would have put it: "Conceptual Continuity".

Overall the quality of the material is high throughout, and all tracks are instantly catchy and memorable. I would have prefered a few more rockers instead of the many epic tracks, but on the other hand itīs hard not to be impressed by how skillfully executed and well written the material is, and then it matters less that the really hard rocking and faster paced tracks are relatively few. "Handful Of Rain" features a powerful and well sounding production too, and upon conclusion itīs yet another high quality release by the band. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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