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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
Atlantic 1990
Audio CD$9.08
$6.84 (used)
Dungeons Are CallingDungeons Are Calling
Audio CD$6.52
$6.64 (used)
Gutter BalletGutter Ballet
Atlantic 1990
Audio CD$6.13
$4.63 (used)
From the Gutter to the Stage: The Best of Savatage 1981-1995From the Gutter to the Stage: The Best of Savatage 1981-1995
Import [Generic] 2000
Audio CD$9.98 (used)
Edge of ThornsEdge of Thorns
Atlantic 1993
Audio CD$8.29
$0.94 (used)
Collector's EditionCollector's Edition
Imports 2015
Audio CD$14.26
$19.36 (used)
Fight for the RockFight for the Rock
Edel Europe 2011
Audio CD$3.96
$3.95 (used)
Streets: A Rock OperaStreets: A Rock Opera
Atlantic 1991
Audio CD$5.79
$0.32 (used)
Poets & MadmenPoets & Madmen
Ais 2011
Audio CD$3.89
$3.88 (used)
Streets: A Rock OperaStreets: A Rock Opera
Imports 2014
$67.00 (used)
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Dead Winter Dead by Savatage (CD, Oct-1995, Atlantic (Label)) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Streets: A Rock Opera by Savatage (CD, Oct-1991, Atlantic (Label)) USD $2.49 [0 bids]
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Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Requiem (single and video) promo TSO Savatage USD $0.99 [0 bids]
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SAVATAGE discography

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

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

3.03 | 53 ratings
3.20 | 53 ratings
Power Of The Night
2.24 | 46 ratings
Fight For The Rock
3.90 | 124 ratings
Hall Of The Mountain King
4.00 | 147 ratings
Gutter Ballet
4.16 | 187 ratings
Streets - A Rock Opera
4.03 | 132 ratings
Edge of Thorns
3.80 | 83 ratings
Handful of Rain
3.92 | 118 ratings
Dead Winter Dead
3.82 | 118 ratings
The Wake of Magellan
3.84 | 88 ratings
Poets & Madmen

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

3.96 | 15 ratings
Japan Live '94
4.67 | 23 ratings
Ghost in the Ruins / Final Bell

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

3.92 | 7 ratings
Japan Live '94

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

2.53 | 6 ratings
From the Gutter to the Stage
2.00 | 2 ratings
The Best and the Rest (Japanese Greatest Hits)
3.00 | 1 ratings
Believe (compilation)
3.80 | 5 ratings
Still The Orchestra Plays - Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2

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

3.33 | 24 ratings
The Dungeons Are Calling
2.36 | 5 ratings
One Child (single)
3.33 | 6 ratings


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Streets - A Rock Opera by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.16 | 187 ratings

Streets - A Rock Opera
Savatage Progressive Metal

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.

 Hall Of The Mountain King by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.90 | 124 ratings

Hall Of The Mountain King
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Adding progressive metal accents to their power metal style, Hall of the Mountain King finds Savatage in a mood which is equal parts experimental and playful. Knocking off a metallised Grieg cover in the form of Prelude to Madness come across more like a bit of fun than a track to be taken more seriously, and I think it slightly suffers from its placement on the CD - remember, on the original album it was the opening track to side 2, so it's slightly less disruptive there as a quick goof-off than as the momentum-sapper in the middle of the running order it is on the CD. Still, aside from that one track the group are in good form and in general the album is highly enjoyable if you're after progressive power metal that doesn't take itself too seriously.
 Streets - A Rock Opera by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.16 | 187 ratings

Streets - A Rock Opera
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.
 Fight For The Rock by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.24 | 46 ratings

Fight For The Rock
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Monsterbass74

2 stars The short: The 'Tage make a foray into pop as per instructions from Atlantic or else...

I love the 'Tage, but this album is the "so-so" pop effort made by the band at the request of the record company, complete with PMRC type warning stickers... yet there were no curse words in any of the songs to be found. It has 3 strong songs and one good one revamped from the earlier days while the rest is not the best if you would wish to dig and rock out to typical 80's hard rock.

Jon's voice and piano/key playing (though my cassette notes say someone else, *Russian type name forgotten-lost cassette*, played synths, which I doubt) and Chris' guitar work are always top notch. The production is pure 80's metal with lots of "verb". Too much on the snare. It starts to sound like Kweensryche (sic).

The songs that are worth it:

The synth intro of "The Edge Of Midnight" is an obvious yet more complex homage to "Mr. Crowley." It's a good rocker with some more synths thrown in the right spots. It's my fav song here. It's worth the album alone.

"Hyde", which to some is the highlight of this album, is a prog-ish metal horror flick in a song. Kind of like what Alice Cooper would have presented... but Savatage does it much better.

"Lady In Disguise" is an upbeat (reworked song in 'Tage's old song Rolodex) ballad that has some piano and synth work. It's got a killer middle 8 and a nice bit out of the solo.

"Red Light Paradise" is another solid rocker sans the prog. Might be about a bordello.

It's not THAT bad. It's not terrible at all. It's not the Savatage we're used to.

All I know is that Atlantic wanted 'Tage to record the songs Jon Oliva wrote for other artists. These proposed songs weren't bonafide 'Tage songs save for "Midnight", "Hyde" and "Red Light". I'm sure Tina Turner or John Waite could rock some of these. I wasn't heart broken when I listened to it as a kid. I liked some of these alot. The others: a Badfinger and a Free cover, and a re-recorded work ("Out On The Streets") didn't work for me. "She's Only Rock And Roll" is kinda like a rockin'-funky vibe like. "Crying For Love" and the title song isn't very good, though.

This album? It's for the fans to gripe about. It is not like "Power Of The Night" ... not like the Savatage we know and love. They come back, however, with the killer "Hall Of The Mountain King" which is highly recommended.

(RIP Chris Oliva)

 Poets & Madmen by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.84 | 88 ratings

Poets & Madmen
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 really

I'm a big fan of this band for almost 20 years, each album they released was unique with intelligent song writting and top notch musicianship. The last album to date of this excellent band named Poets and madmen dates from 2001 and is as I expected a good one but not really among their top 5 albums. With Oliva back behind the mic like in the glory days, he also is the main composer and the keybordist of the band since the beggining. I liked a lot the voice of Zachary Stevens he was fiting perfectly in Savatage music, Edge of thorns beinng his true mastrpice where his voice was heavenly, now he quitted in 2000 aswell Al Pitrelli gone being part of Megadeth machine in that period. Well over all sound is little darker because of the lyrics and aswell more powerful then previous works who were with progressive elemenets all over, nice pianos , solos and all, this time with Oliva back on voice the compositions sound like in their early years not far from Hall of the mountain king era but little less intresting then that album. Anyway not a single piece is weak, but the magic is not so present as on Streets or Edge of thorns for example. Even the voice of Oliva is more angry then usual. Pieces like Stay With Me A While, There In The Silence or The Rumour (Jesus) shows that Savatage has still big potential with great ideas and adventurous playing. Very solid instrumental passages as always, they don't disappoint at all with not a single labum, since the beggining they were a consistent band with imaginative instrumental sections. As I said I'm a big fan of the band and because of thet 3 stars to this one rouned up with half a star because worth it. Among the best bands ever to me.

 Hall Of The Mountain King by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.90 | 124 ratings

Hall Of The Mountain King
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by 1967/ 1976

4 stars I can not understand why listening to Savatage I can think of a band that is not simply a Heavy Metal band. Contrary to what I hear I can not accurately categorize the music they propose. Classify it simply as Classic Metal would be the minimum. Yet... Yet it has a bit more. A much-does not lead me to call it Power Metal or Epic Metal. But even Prog Metal. In a certain sense the music of Savatage is ascribed to Proto Prog Metal (like Queensryche, Atomic Rooster, Uriah Heep, Magnum, Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin, for example).

In this respect the music that we propose Savatage in "Hall Of The Mountain King" is a sort of mix between Hard Rock, Power Metal and bombastic arrangements. The melody is predominant in a context where the guitars so much pumping, pulsating rhythm section and Jon Oliva seems a lot of new Robert Plant / Ian Gillan! The vision that "Hall Of The Mountain King" offers us is typical of much of the 80's Metal: Power, melody, excellent technique. Yet there is not an explosive album. Fatigue, in fact, to open minds: start hard with a metal evergreen as "24 Hrs. Ago" and continues on the same coordinates. Thus it becomes difficult to describe the album song by song.

These are my reflections ended by finding that "Hall Of The Mountan King" is an evergreen of Metal. And as such must be judged.

 Power Of The Night by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.20 | 53 ratings

Power Of The Night
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Isa
Prog Reviewer

3 stars |C| A solid album from 1985 and another relevant work of proto-prog metal.

Power of the Night, the sophomore effort of the (at this stage) 80s proto-prog metal band Savatage, is quite a solid step up from their debut, and shows much more of the band's creative potential in pioneering the use of new artistic devices of composition ("progressiveness") in their music. Whilst this may be primarily an 80s metal oriented album, it is by no means the musical equivalent of the popular hair-metal "one hit wonder" counterparts of the time, as there is far more substance, creativity, and passion and far less "hook" and other superfluous idioms of much corporate-created music, though there are attempts on a couple tracks in this direction. That being said, this is still far from overtly progressive sounding metal, though there are plenty of hints and even overt statements of the style, enough to deem this album as a fairly good model of "proto-prog metal" if we should choose to use such simultaneously specific yet in fact vague labels. Certainly, in the context of the 80s metal style, the music here is far less repetitive and much more creative than pretty much any of their popular 80s hair-metal counterparts.

Track Commentary: The album title track has an interesting introduction with electronic- music pads and sound effects, which I find an interesting way to start a metal album. This moves straight into the main riff. This song is definitely your typical (though high quality) early 80s metal, everything really pieces together quite nicely in this song, and I really like the heavy use of syncopation during the verse and solo. This song is very characteristic of the band's aggressive metal sound, with a really cool bass-guitar unison ending. Unusual, the second track, continues in much of the same vein, though a slower, sixteenth-note rhythm based feel. I like the use of string sounds during the verse, and the synthesizers during the chorus really add so much, as well as the throbbing base. I like the modulations in the section before the solo, very creative and not something you'd ever hear in heavy metal, particularly at the time. Warriors has an overtly prog-metal sound to it, which is cool hearing that considering this album came out right in the middle of the eighties, probably prog's darkest period in its existence. The chorus of the song seems a little forced, though Jon Oliva does a great job with it, especially when he does that downward chromatic movement on the repeat. The section before the ending chorus as another synth-pad-laden, which is really cool though a little out of place considering its context within the song. Necrophilia is a very driven song with a sort of bluesy sounding guitar work, quite superb riffs all around. The duel octave-sounding guitar work is really great. It sort of sounds like where they would go with their music with Hall of the Mountain King. Washed out is more NWBHM sounding, lots of chugging sixteenth note playing by the bass and guitar, and very eighties metal sounding solo (meaning awesome). Hard for Love, as the title suggests, sounds like another one of those typical "record-company-pressured-us-to-try-to-make-a- hit" song, which is really lame. It's exactly the sort of rubbish that gives 80s metal such a low "dated" reputation among even less musically educated metal-heads, though the band tries to incorporate some unique things in it, as if to say "you know we'd like to make better music than this but it is what it is." Fountain of Youth is pretty much the artistic opposite, starting off with less conventional and thicker distortion-guitar chords (similar to the ones often used by Fates Warning, if I'm not mistaken) and some synth effects. I sense that this is the sort of music that represents the band's true creative outlet. The guitar tabbing is played very clean and sounds great. There is a very progressive sounding section with voice effect synth-pads with really effective and creative guitar work. And talk about an unconventional ending! Skull Session is a much more straightforward track, another very driving, somewhat NWBHM sounding galloping-rhythm-based track. Stuck On You is actually much better than you'd expect considering the title (and even the lyrics), the guitar work is very good, especially during the chorus, and the overall song has a very metal head-banging feel to it (particularly during the solo), though the lyrics are still really annoying and uncharacteristic of the song. I love the micro-meter triplet hemiola they throw in toward the end of the solo, which they do several times at the end of the song. Really cool. In The Dream sounds a lot like where they would go much later in their discography with Streets and what-not, a sort of heavy ballad, and I suppose their potential for that sound was always there, they just didn't go full on with it until later, which I find interesting. The song provides a good ending for a good album.

Considering the "mixed-bag," inconsistent nature of their debut, this album has a generally higher level of quality all around; enough that, in my view, it should establish the album as a relevant work of proto-prog metal. The raised level of maturity and consistency in the band's sound is more than noticeable, and other than the dreadful record-company-forced follow- up album Fight for Rock, it could be considered the great foundation of their sound from which the band would soar to new heights in their creativity for the next few works of their discography.

A good album for progressive rock listeners, excellent for fans of prog-metal, and most recommended for people with an interest in the development of prog metal. (I apologize to the reader for the excessive use of hyphens in this review.)

 Sirens by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.03 | 53 ratings

Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Isa
Prog Reviewer

2 stars |D|

Sirens is the debut album of Savatage, one of the bands that would come to be known as one of the early pioneers of more creative or "progressive" metal (though since Savatage avoided a lot of the prog stereotypes, there's some argument about their progressiveness). It is actually very much what you might expect from one of the better heavy metal bands from 1983, only unlike the other proto-prog metal bands, Savatage is only somewhat influenced by NWBHM. The influence of heavier, "darker" and more mid-tempo first wave metal, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, and some Scorpions, is just as present. There's a lot of stuff online about them having been an early influence for death metal, given Jon Oliva's aggressive style, but that seems like quite a stretch, in my opinion (I guess I'd have to give early death metal another listen to be sure...). Regardless, the debut has some great, somewhat creative straight up metal tracks, some moments of "hey, that sounds like something you'd hear in prog" here and there, and some tracks that are just very forgettable, lame, and dated tracks that stereotype that period. A pretty mixed bag indeed. It's impressive how the band would stick with the general sound of their debut for so many albums though.

Track Commentary: The album opens with sounds of chorused guitar arpeggios leading into church bells combined with chimes (hm, I wonder if Rush's A Farewell to Kings had some influence there...). I really like the echo effects on Jon Oliva's voice, and he'll often stop on a word and let the word echo during the riff, very effective. Very good riffs, standard sort of heavy metal for the early eighties, but well done. Holocaust starts with fast drumming on the high hat, leading into a riff, leading into the songs main riffs, a really great riff with palm muting, alternating a low line and higher power chords. This is probably my favorite song on the album, along with Scream Murder. The siren going off in this track is an album pun, referring to the danger in WWII and the album title at the same time. I like the low keyboard pads. Some of the guitar chords are reminiscent of Iron Maiden's. The end of the song is sound effects, which crescendo into the next track. The intro to I Believe is chorused guitar arpeggios with Oliva giving try at soft-singing, with less than pleasing results of nasality. More of the usual early 80s metal sound, power chord riffs with occasional single lined passages. Less than convincing low-voice distortion is used before the band breaks into a double-time solo. I like the sound of the toms in the drum fills at the end of the track. Rage is a much more accessible head-banging sort of track. The ending holds the echo of the ending in suspention, very strange and creative enough to seem out of place at the end of a not-so-creative track. On the Run is a more mid-tempo, with a riff that sounds oddly similar to one in their later Gutter Ballet album... I guess they kind of reused it. It's a really awesome riff nonetheless. Twisted Little Sister is once again on the accessible side, with kind of unnecessary effects on the singer's voice. I'm pretty certain that the title of this track is where a certain (in)famous hair-metal band got their name. "Baby I need you" is the kind of lyric that gives you a less than positive indication regarding the band's sense of artistic flare with the track. Living for the Night is another typical metal track. Scream Murder, however, is actually quite the opposite, a track with synth pads, more diversity in the composition. Out On the Streets is very acoustically driven, and the catchy chorus actually does sound like something from their Streets album, interestingly enough.

Savatage's album is a pretty good one in the scheme of early metal, but pretty mediocre in the context of rock music over. A good start, with mere hints at prog, but this is one of those albums you listen to if you adore the band's somewhat unique and aggressive sound, or for head-banging kicks after you've wracked your brain with avant-garde music. More recommended for fans of Savatage and prog metal collectors.

 Dead Winter Dead by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.92 | 118 ratings

Dead Winter Dead
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

3 stars For a long time, I have been a fan of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but wished that they would focus their efforts more on concepts like Beethoven's Last Night - you know, the concepts that aren't Christmas. I've known for some time that they were the next step for a metal band called Savatage, and I finally took the time to listen to a Savatage album with Dead Winter Dead. It seemed like a logical step, as this is the album that eventually lead to Trans- Siberian Orchestra, when the track "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" became a minor hit and the band realised they could fuse metal and holiday music to succeed.

Well, other than that track name this album has nothing to do with Christmas. The plot follows the lives of two characters on the opposite side of a civil war that arose after the fall of the Berlin wall. One is a man and the other is a woman, so there is a bit of a hint that it's sort of a romance but it's not quite so romantic. In fact, the two are strangers until the very end of the album. Each end up involved in the civil war, believing their side to be right. After setting up the context, the two camps reach Sarajevo, where an old man, horrified at what has happened, sets it upon himself to be a reminder of peace by going to an old building every night and playing his cello, despite the danger to himself. This continues for some time, until one night (Christmas Eve) his music stops. Both the man (who had been considering deserting after seeing children slaughtered by his side) and the woman go in search of the old man, finding his corpse at the same time. Disgusted by the war, they run away together.

Simple story, really not the best I have heard but at least it's about something other than Christmas. The ending isn't very satisfying because the characters didn't really know each other and because we never really got to know either character particularly well throughout the album (especially the female character), but it is entertaining enough.

If you are a fan of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, let me sum up this bands sound in 4 words: less Christmas, more metal.

If you are not, then this can roughly be described as a heavy metal rock opera. The guitar is nice and melodic (the focus is not chugging), the synths create a symphonic texture, and the vocals are theatrical. Every song is entertaining, with highlights including Starlight, Dead Winter Dead, and the instrumental tracks (Mozart and Madness, Christmas Eve). There aren't really any dud tracks, which is good. The vocals aren't quite as varied as Trans-Siberian Orchestra, with only two vocalists existing on this album, both of whom are male, but they work well enough to tell the story and separate characters.

 The Wake of Magellan by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.82 | 118 ratings

The Wake of Magellan
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars I did my retrospective of Savatage discography last year where I covered some of the band's material produced by Paul O'Neill (Hall Of The Mountain King and on) but clearly left out quite a few albums. The reason for that is not that I haven't heard the albums, I actually happen to known most of these albums quite well, except Poets & Madmen which I'm still saving for that special moment sometime in the near future. So why, you might ask? Simply because I didn't feel that I could find enough reasoning behind my mixed feelings related to these albums and therefore wouldn't do justice to these reviews.

I did make the decision of reviewing Dead Winter Dead, against my better judgment, since it happens to be one of the beloved classics in the Savatage catalog, but I did it mainly just to show that I have a different opinion on the issue. Unfortunately, my reasoning was not motivated enough and I will probably have to work on that review in due time. That whole issue aside, I've now clearly understood my personal stand when it comes to The Wake Of Magellan, which is why I'm putting these thoughts into writing.

To tell you the truth, I never considered this release to be among the band's best. Savatage had their golden age with the release of Gutter Ballet but it all ended with the tragic death of Criss Oliva. Even though both Paul O'Neill and Jon Oliva tried their best to recreate the magic of those three great albums, I really haven't been able to place any of the post-Edge Of Thorns in the same bracket as the golden age material.

My main concern with this so called second renaissance of Savatage (Handful Of Rain and on) has to do with the amounts of laking material that was featured on these releases. Dead Winter Dead had only two truly magic moments in the form of the two gorgeous ballads This Is The Time and Not What You See. The rest of the album was good but there was nothing the could compare itself to those two compositions. The Wake Of Magellan has a similar issue although with a slightly different twist to it. I'm talking about the fact that most of the top notch material is hidden towards the end of the album!

I would have easily enjoyed this release more if it dropped the first eight tracks and made a 27 minute long EP out of the remaining five tracks (Underture and onward). These five concluding tracks are truly phenomenal and definitely reminiscent of the golden age material, featuring a linear storyline and an epic symphonic conclusion to the piece which unfortunately have almost no connection to the first half of the album. This might just be the reason why the band decided to add an intro section in the form of The Ocean (Instrumental), in order to make the to halves feel like one whole, but it just doesn't work for me.

The final product of The Wake Of Magellan is a semi-coherent masterpiece, which in my book makes it good enough release but not by any means an excellent one. The Hourglass is easily one of the strongest concluding compositions that I've heard to a concept album and it does manage to wipe away some of the lesser memories that one might have of the overall product. Fortunately I'm a realist who prefers to see things for what they are and I clearly see that this is a flawed release.

***** star songs: Anymore (5:16) The Hourglass (8:07)

**** star songs: Turns To Me (6:01) Another Way (4:35) Paragons Of Innocence (5:33) Underture (Instrumental) (3:52) The Wake Of Magellan (6:10) The Storm (Instrumental) (3:45)

*** star songs: The Ocean (Instrumental) (1:33) Welcome (2:11) Morning Sun (5:49) Blackjack Guillotine (4:33) Complaint In The System (2:37)

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