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SAVATAGE

Progressive Metal • United States


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Savatage biography
Founded in Tarpon Springs, Florida, USA in 1978 (as Avatar) - Disbanded in 2002 - One-Off reunion in 2015

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 80s 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 1989s "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-project by Jon Oliva and guitarrist Chris Cafery called DOCTOR BUTCHER with a more heavy metal sound, with a self-titled album. A great band with a long career, most of his albums are not r...
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Hall of the Mountain KingHall of the Mountain King
Ais 2011
$6.97
$8.92 (used)
Gutter BalletGutter Ballet
Ais 2011
$8.76
$8.82 (used)
Sirens and the Dungeons Are CallingSirens and the Dungeons Are Calling
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
$8.03
$8.99 (used)
Savatage, Edge of ThornsSavatage, Edge of Thorns
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
$8.55
$11.82 (used)
Still The Orchestra PlaysStill The Orchestra Plays
earMUSIC 2010
$7.30
$7.75 (used)
Poets & MadmenPoets & Madmen
Extra tracks · Limited Edition
Steamhammer/SPV 2008
$19.94
$2.01 (used)
The Wake of MagellanThe Wake of Magellan
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
$5.55
$9.44 (used)
Fight for the RockFight for the Rock
Edel Europe 2011
$7.98
$9.40 (used)
Streets: A Rock Opera (Narrated Version / Video Collection)Streets: A Rock Opera (Narrated Version / Video Collection)
CD+DVD
IMPORTS 2013
$9.69
$9.27 (used)
Streets: Rock OperaStreets: Rock Opera
Ais 2011
$8.70
$11.62 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
SAVATAGE - Return to Wacken CD #96750 USD $17.50 Buy It Now
KAMELOT Poetry For The Poisoned + 1 JAPAN CD Firewind Ozzy Avantasia Savatage USD $26.50 Buy It Now
@ CD SAVATAGE - GHOST IN THE RUINS JON OLIVA DOCTOR BUTCHER / SPV RECORDS 1995 USD $7.99 Buy It Now
Savatage 'Gutter Ballet' 1st Press GR 1989 Original Vinyl Record LP Rare Oliva USD $88.65 Buy It Now 35m 19s
CD SAVATAGE "DEAD WINTER DEAD -DIGI-". New and sealed USD $16.76 Buy It Now 1h 45m
CD SAVATAGE "FIGHT FOR THE ROCK -DIGI-". New and sealed USD $17.92 Buy It Now 1h 45m
CD SAVATAGE "THE WAKE OF MAGELLAN -DIGI-". New and sealed USD $17.92 Buy It Now 1h 45m
Savatage - Gutter Ballet (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.11 Buy It Now 2h 18m
Streets: A Rock Opera by Savatage (CD, Oct-1991, Atlantic (Label)) USD $3.25 [3 bids]
3h 36m
TRAVELER Traveler CD SEALED ETERNAL CHAMPION SAVATAGE ENFORCER MERCYFUL FATE USD $11.50 [15 bids]
4h 6m
N/M ORIGINAL SAVATAGE 1985 POWER OF THE NIGHT USA MASTERDISK SPECIALTY VINYL LP USD $59.00 Buy It Now 4h 7m
SORCERER Incantation CD MANOWAR SANCTUARY METAL CHURCH VICIOUS RUMORS SAVATAGE USD $2.00 [3 bids]
4h 20m
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4h 25m
Doctor Butcher / ST JAPAN Jon Oliva Savatage D USD $34.99 Buy It Now 4h 28m
MINDLESS SINNER Master of evil cd heavy load gotham city savatage cirith ungol USD $4.01 [4 bids]
4h 28m
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Savatage / Power Of The Night JAPAN AMCY-387 1ST PRESS!!!!! A2 USD $149.99 Buy It Now 4h 44m
FIRSTBORN Killer Within 2001 INDIE U.S. POWER METAL CD savatage fates warning USD $17.99 Buy It Now 4h 55m
SAVATAGE - HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING LP ATLANTIC 81775-1 1987 - RARE HEAVY METAL USD $18.50 [13 bids]
6h 44m
SAVATAGE Japan Live '94 + Ghost In The Ruins JAPAN CD CRCL-4783/84 2001 USD $50.74 Buy It Now 7h 22m
Savatage - Edge Of Thorns - Cassette (Atlantic 1993) 82488-4 USD $9.50 Buy It Now 9h 41m
Savatage - Dead Winter Dead (CD, Oct-1995, Atlantic (Label)) USD $5.94 Buy It Now 9h 42m
SAVATAGE Power Of The Night Japan CD OBI '92 1st press US heavy metal USD $30.00 [4 bids]
10h 12m
Savatage - Poets & Madmen [New CD] Germany - Import USD $12.00 Buy It Now 10h 25m
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA "THE LOST CHRISTMAS EVE" CD 2004 EX SAVATAGE USD $7.99 Buy It Now 10h 36m
Savatage CD-Gutter Ballet-Rare-Near Mint A2 82008 Atlantic 1989-Explicit Lyrics USD $1.99 [1 bids]
10h 41m
JON OLIVA'S PAIN - GLOBAL WARNING - PROMO CD - 2008 - IMPORT - SAVATAGE USD $4.99 [1 bids]
11h 47m
SAVATAGE - RETURN TO WACKEN * NEW CD USD $19.14 Buy It Now 12h
SKANNERS - "The Serial Healer" CD, Heavy Metal, (fans of Maiden & Savatage) USD $3.99 Buy It Now 12h 5m
"Streets" A Rock Opera By Savatage (CD, 1991, Atlantic) Prog Power Heavy Metal USD $4.75 Buy It Now 14h 18m
SAVATAGE - HANDFUL OF RAIN NEW CD USD $16.23 Buy It Now 14h 34m
SAVATAGE DEAD WINTER DEAD 2 X CD GERMAN SPECIAL EDITION 1995 UNIQUE USD $23.64 Buy It Now 16h 21m
OLIVA - RAISE THE CURTAIN - CD - IMPORT - DIGIPAK - 1ST ED - SAVATAGE - TSO-2013 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
USD $6.99 Buy It Now
16h 42m
SAVATAGE streets rock opera GERMANY VINYL 12" 33 ATLANTIC 19917567-82320-1 USD $101.74 Buy It Now 18h 19m
Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King (1987) [SEALED] Vinyl LP . Strange Wings USD $198.99 Buy It Now 18h 49m
RARE PROMO Atlantic Release #8 CASSETTE TAPE Savatage Crosby Stills Nash TOADIES USD $9.99 Buy It Now 18h 53m
SAVATAGE - From Gutter To Stage: Best Of Savatage 1981-1995 - 2 CD - Import USD $37.95 Buy It Now 19h 18m
Chris Caffery Warped 16 Track Advance Promo Heavy Metal CD Savatage TSO NMINT USD $9.98 Buy It Now 19h 49m
SAVATAGE - Sirens (Japan 1st press 1995 cd + obi) Queensryche Fates Warning Rare USD $68.00 Buy It Now 22h 30m
SAVATAGE The Wake Of Magellan / 1997 / TAPE MC CASSETTE USD $14.99 Buy It Now 22h 59m
V/A-Return Of The Mountain King- Tribute To Savatage (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $20.00 Buy It Now 23h
SAVATAGE - Poets & Madmen - CD - **Mint Condition** USD $27.95 Buy It Now 1 day
Circle II Circle / Burden of Truth JAPAN+1 Zak Stevens Savatage NEW!!!!! *Z USD $49.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Jon Oliva's Pain / Global Warning JAPAN+1 Savatage *G USD $34.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage Ghost In The Ruins A Tribute To Criss Oliva CD 1995 NBA6477-2 1995 Oop USD $9.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King [New CD] Digipack Packaging, UK - Import USD $12.51 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING sanctuary vicious rumors metal church USD $48.00 [0 bids]
1 day
SAVATAGE - POWER OF THE NIGHT sanctuary vicious rumors metal church USD $33.00 [0 bids]
1 day
The Dungeons Are Calling - Savatage CD, 1994, remastered, includes 2 lost tracks USD $39.95 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE : CUTTINGS COLLECTION -interview advert- USD $3.90 [0 bids]
1 day
Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King [New CD] Digipack Packaging, UK - Import USD $9.36 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - Fight For Rock - CD - **Mint Condition** USD $31.95 Buy It Now 1 day
DARKLIN REACH - "WHERE EVIL DWELLS" (RARE '92 TOMBSTONE RECORDS) SAVATAGE USD $49.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Chris Caffery Pins & Needles CD Ex-Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra Guitarist! USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage - Return to Wacken [New CD] UK - Import USD $19.13 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE SIRENS SILVER ANNIVERSARY COLLECTORS EDITION CD Jon Criss Olivia METAL USD $14.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Dead Winter Dead by Savatage (CD, Oct-1995, Atlantic (Label)) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Thrash Heavy Metal Cassette Lot Hallows Eve Megadeth Tankard Savatage Metallica USD $15.38 [5 bids]
1 day
RARE SAVATAGE POETS AND MADMEN CD BOX SET 2001 MADE IN KOREA STEAMHAMMER RECORDS USD $114.53 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage ?- Drive Label: Nuclear Blast ?CD-PRO-01 Rare 2001 Sealed New HTF OOP USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage - Poets And Madmen JAPAN Box CD (CRCL-4780) OBI + Extra Booklet USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
QUEENSRYCHE --- Patch /Fates Warning Savatage Sanctuary Lizzy Borden Leatherwolf USD $5.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage Edge Of Thorns 12 Track Advance Promo Cassette Tape Near Mint 1993 USD $39.98 Buy It Now 1 day
REVERENCE Gods Of War + 1 JAPAN CD Avatar Savatage Crimson Glory Tokyo Blade Rio USD $28.50 Buy It Now 1 day
CHRIS CAFFERY.THE JESTER`S COURT .CD. 2018 . SAVATAGE USD $7.00 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE Japan Live '94 + Ghost In The Ruins JAPAN CD CRCL-4783/84 2001 NEW USD $136.22 Buy It Now 2 days
2CD CHRIS CAFFERY FACES DIGIPACK EDITION (SAVATAGE, TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Destiny Faire - Destiny Faire (SAVATAGE) BRAND NEW USD $33.99 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE The Best And Rest JAPAN CD VICP-60166 1997 NEW USD $106.93 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE - STREETS: A ROCK OPERA USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $12.35 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE - POWER OF THE NIGHT [DIGIPAK] USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $9.02 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE - POETS & MADMEN [DIGIPAK] USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $9.07 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE - GHOST IN THE RUINS: A TRIBUTE TO CHRIS OLIVA [DIGIPAK] USED - VERY GO USD $9.02 Buy It Now 2 days
Edge Of Thorns [Digipak] by Savatage (CD, Jun-2010, Ear Music) USD $9.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage / Gutter Ballet JAPAN AMCY-703 NEW!!!!! G USD $59.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage / Gutter Ballet JAPAN AMCY-703 *I USD $29.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Raise the Curtain [Digipak] JON OLIVA CD ( FREE SHIPPING) SAVATAGE USD $9.72 Buy It Now 2 days
TYR-Illusion CD Queensryche, Savatage, Riot,Fifth Angel,Leatherwolf,Private,Rare USD $15.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Ghost in the Ruins (A Tribute to Chris Oliva, 2011) USD $6.50 [0 bids]
2 days
SAVATAGE / The Wake of Magellan - '97, JAPAN OBI + Bonus Tracks USD $6.40 [0 bids]
2 days
Savatage Streets - 1991 Atlantic JAPAN + OBI USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Gutter Ballet Cassette Tape 1989 Atlantic Records USD $2.99 [1 bids]
2 days
Savatage Collectors Package, New, Sealed USD $29.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Poets & Madmen (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.00 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE Gutter Ballet JAPAN CD AMCY-27 1990 OBI USD $46.74 Buy It Now 2 days
The Wake Of Magellan by Savatage (CD, Jun-2010, Ear Music) USD $6.60 [0 bids]
2 days
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USD $15.58 Buy It Now
2 days
Savatage ?- Poets & Madmen ULTRA RARE COLLECTOR'S CD! BONUS TRACK! FREE SHIPPING USD $20.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Rare Greek press CD:Crimson Glory(Killdrums-savatage)Astronomica-Demo+Parish USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage ?- Handful Of Rain ULTRA RARE COLLECTOR'S CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $20.00 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE The Wake of Magellan JAPAN CD OBI 1997 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage ?- Gutter Ballet ULTRA RARE COLLECTOR'S CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $20.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage ?- Fight For The Rock ULTRA RARE COLLECTOR'S CD! FREE SHIPPING! USD $20.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - the Wake of Magellan CD #G39417 USD $12.47 Buy It Now 3 days
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Savatage - Ghost in the Ruins CD #6116 USD $12.47 Buy It Now 3 days
Glenn Hughes/Savatage/Children Of Bodom/Sykes/Royal Hunt/Alias JAPAN 10CD 7 USD $149.99 Buy It Now 3 days
@ CD CIRCLE II CIRCLE - WATCHING IN SILENCE / SAVATAGE / AFM RECORDS 2003 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Savatage - Dead Winter Dead, Atlantic Records 1995 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 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)

3.05 | 70 ratings
Sirens
1983
3.19 | 71 ratings
Power Of The Night
1985
2.25 | 60 ratings
Fight For The Rock
1986
3.87 | 147 ratings
Hall Of The Mountain King
1987
4.01 | 177 ratings
Gutter Ballet
1989
4.13 | 224 ratings
Streets - A Rock Opera
1991
4.02 | 164 ratings
Edge Of Thorns
1993
3.82 | 106 ratings
Handful Of Rain
1994
3.87 | 146 ratings
Dead Winter Dead
1995
3.83 | 148 ratings
The Wake Of Magellan
1998
3.90 | 110 ratings
Poets & Madmen
2001

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

3.61 | 22 ratings
Japan Live '94
1995
4.52 | 34 ratings
Ghost in the Ruins / Final Bell
1995

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

3.88 | 13 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 | 3 ratings
Believe (compilation)
1998
3.50 | 6 ratings
Still The Orchestra Plays - Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2
2010
2.82 | 2 ratings
Return to Wacken
2015

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

3.21 | 30 ratings
The Dungeons Are Calling
1985
2.33 | 6 ratings
One Child (single)
1996
3.05 | 10 ratings
Commissar
2001

SAVATAGE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Believe (compilation) by SAVATAGE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1998
2.00 | 3 ratings

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Believe (compilation)
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars 'Believe' is a 1998 compilation album by American metal band Savatage. It was only released in Japan, and focuses primarily on the bands 90's output, most notably with cuts from the studio albums 'Handful of Rain' and 'Dead Winter Dead', as well as the two live albums 'Japan Live '94' and 'Ghost in the Ruins: A Tribute to Criss Oliva'. With that in mind, while it serves its purpose well as some kind of 90's commemoration, it's a bit of pointless and uninspired release.

And what's up with that lame cover art?

Still, for what it's worth, Savatage are one of my all time favourite bands, and the material on offer here is still bloody brilliant! From hard rockers like 'Taunting Cobras' and 'Handful of Rain' to symphonic epics such as 'Chance', 'This is the Time' and 'Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)', while there are other songs from the studio albums that are missing, these are still great tracks. Plus, you get the song 'Believe' from the 'Streets' album, which is always a fan favourite.

And as for the live tracks... well, I've always been a sucker for studio albums, but still, you've got the likes of 'Edge of Thorns', 'Gutter Ballet', 'Hall of the Mountain King' and 'The Dungeons Are Calling', so there's some good stuff there too.

But as a whole, looking at this album in retrospect, it's pointless. There are other Savatage compilations that do a fantastic job of covering the bands entire career. Whereas this one is best left for the absolute, most die-hard and committed collectors, like me, and even then, I'm never going to listen to it.

 Streets - A Rock Opera by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.13 | 224 ratings

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Streets - A Rock Opera
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

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 D.T. Jesus. Coming at a time when metal was becoming stale to mainstream fans, it was no doubt a risky move by the band to continue this route, but the end result is one of their most highly revered and well-received albums.

Riding a wave of momentum from their previous albums, 'Hall of the Mountain King' and its successor, 'Gutter Ballet', and once again continuing their working relationship with producer Paul O'Neill (who wrote the original story for the album), the band have hit their stride here, finding their niche and sounding more confident than ever before.

Wonderfully produced, the sound of the album evokes many moods throughout its diverse track list. From heavy rockers, to melodic tearjerkers, the production perfectly captures the essence and mood of each song. At times haunting and eerie, melancholic and depressing, or uplifting, head banging metal anthems, O'Neill has done a tremendous job of capturing the right vibe which suits the style of the band, and gives each member ample space to shine.

With songs such as 'Jesus Saves', 'Somewhere in Time/Believe', 'Tonight He Grins Again/Strange Reality', 'Ghost in the Ruins', 'You're Alive/Sammy and Tex' and 'Agony and Ecstasy/Heal My Soul', there's no shortage of Savatage highlights here. Along with Jon Oliva's hauntingly passionate vocals and Criss Olivas classically-inspired guitar acrobatics, this is a pivotal album for the band, which would see them continue to ignore musical trends in favour of their own musical and artistic integrity, making 'Streets: A Rock Opera', a worthwhile addition to the collection of all rock and metal fans.

 Japan Live '94 by SAVATAGE album cover Live, 1995
3.61 | 22 ratings

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Japan Live '94
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars This album is a perfect example of why I've always preferred studio albums to live ones. Savatage are without a doubt one of my all-time favourite bands, but 'Japan Live '94' just doesn't do their music justice.

Recorded while touring for their 1994 album, 'Handful of Rain', this was a short-lived line-up of the band which was reeling from the tragic death of original guitarist Criss Oliva. With Zak Stevens totally owning it on vocals, and guitar master Alex Skolnick of Testament fame stepping in on guitars, the band members are on top form, and the performances from everyone are solid throughout.

The production is pretty good, and everyone can be heard clearly, however, there're two things about this album that bug me. Firstly, I just feel that the album versions sound a lot bigger, grandiose and epic, especially as the studio can allow for multiple layers and dubs, whereas live, they all sound a bit flat. Secondly... ah... the audience... Like so many similar live releases, the audience at times just sound piped in. It's when Stevens is talking and the crowd are constantly screaming and yelling, I know metal fans can be a rabid bunch, but at times it just sounds a bit fake (and if it isn't, well... there's always reason one to fall back on).

Coming at a time just as the band were starting to become more progressive, theatrical and bombastic with their music, 'Japan Live '94', (sometimes also known as 'Live in Japan') does have a pretty decent set list. With the likes of 'Chance', 'Edge of Thorns', 'Gutter Ballet', 'Taunting Cobras', 'Jesus Saves', 'Watching You Fall' and 'Sirens', there's plenty of good material here, making this is a decent enough album, but as a whole, I think I'll probably ignore it and just listen to the bands studio output instead.

 The Wake Of Magellan by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.83 | 148 ratings

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The Wake Of Magellan
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'The Wake of Magellan' is the 10th full length album from Savatage. It was released in 1998 and was one of the band's last albums under that name, as they were seeing success as the 'Trans Siberian Orchestra' specializing in dramatic Christmas and other similar albums. Savatage, at this time, was doing a style of progressive metal, many of their albums following specific concepts. The style of their progressive metal was somewhat over the top and dramatic.

This is also the case with this album, following a story based on two true incidents. The main character is a ship's captain that wants to ride out into a storm and let the sea take his life. But while in the process of this, he sees a person stranded in the water. To make a long story short, he rescues the person and realized the value of every solitary life. Nice story. And the music is a nice mix of drama, heaviness and predictability.

So, this band has always been a tough one for me, because, there is no doubt that the musicians are very talented. The guitar solos in this album, like their others, are amazing, and the addition of keyboards gives the music some texture and separates them from other heavy metal bands. The vocalists are very good too, but they put out a lot of over-the-top drama that rubs me the wrong way, and gives a bit of cheesiness to the overall sound.

The music, including with this album, has a lot of what I like in music, but it can be a little on the commercial side, albeit, it is more innovative that most run-of-the-mill metal bands. There are a lot of dynamics in the music also. But the problem is, there is not a lot of stretching of the boundaries or experimentation in the sound, so you get a feeling of sameness as you listen to a full album. I always find myself wishing they would break away from the heavy guitar passages and the typical slow piano sections and just do something new.

Yes the music is enjoyable and yes you have some great guitar as in 'Turns to Me', some instrumentals to help break up the vocals a bit, as in 'Underture' and these are the stronger tracks on this album. There is a bit of symphonic feel to the album too, which also helps. Like I said, there is a lot to love here, but it tends to go over the top in cheesiness and the sound tends to wear on me after a while and I lose interest before it's all over. The later problem is due to not enough variety and too much predictability.

The sound is somewhat similar to 'Dream Theatre' but only at it's core as the innovativeness of DT is lacking in this album. It's a good album, it's not necessarily a great album and it's also not their best. They just take the best of their sound but they don't do anything groundbreaking at all. I can't really do a track by track analysis here because there isn't anything that changes much on that basis. The story is interesting, the talent is amazing, but everything is just too predictable. At least it's a good 3 star album.

 Commissar by SAVATAGE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2001
3.05 | 10 ratings

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Commissar
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars 'Commissar' is a single by metal band Savatage, released in 2001 to promote their 'Poets and Madmen' album, it features three tracks that total at just over eleven minutes in duration.

'Poets and Madmen' is an absolute masterpiece in my opinion, and easily one of the bands best releases, so no doubt it'd be tricky to choose which songs to use as promotional singles. However, 'Commissar', with its bombastic intro, its intense guitar playing and Jon Oliva's rapid-fire vocals, is a fine choice, and easily stands out as one of the more memorable tracks on the album.

Second track, 'Drive', is mostly a straight-up metal song, but highlights the bands ferocity. With lightning fast riffs and wailing vocals, this is also a noteworthy track that makes 'Poets and Madmen' an essential purchase, and gives guitarist Chris Caffery a chance to truly shine. And finally, there's 'Voyage', a short, two-minute acoustic guitar track. It's a nice little instrumental that fills out the disc well, but isn't overly essential.

Overall, 'Commissar' is an all-round decent enough CD single for Savatage fans.

 Gutter Ballet by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.01 | 177 ratings

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Gutter Ballet
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

4 stars While there's always been subtle classical and theatrical elements to Savatage's music, it wasn't until 1989's 'Gutter Ballet' that the band really started to take their sound in a more ambitious direction. Inspired by musicals such as 'Phantom of the Opera', there's a much more grandiose feel to this album than anything they'd done before, and would only lead to the band transitioning from power metal to more progressive territory.

One notable change in the band's sound is the more prominent use of pianos and keyboards. While there were always some keys lingering in the background, 'Gutter Ballet' sees them become a more integral part of the music. It works amazingly well, and really distinguishes Savatage's unique identity.

Of course, the musicianship itself is fantastic. With each member, building upon the momentum they'd garnered with previous album, 'Hall of the Mountain King', being on top form. Jon Oliva's vocals really suit the more theatrical approach well, and his guitarist brother Criss Oliva's blistering guitars are as incredible as ever. Working with producer/songwriter Paul O'Neill, this was a time of growth for the band, and each member really plays their part to help the band mature.

With highlights that include 'Gutter Ballet', 'When the Crowds Are Gone', 'Of Rage and War', 'She's in Love', 'Hounds', 'Thorazine Shuffle' and 'Mentally Yours', there's an abundance of killer material here that constantly shifts from heavy to melodic, but never lets up in quality.

1987's 'Hall of the Mountain King' may have been the album where Savatage hit their stride and started a run of successful (critically, if not commercially) albums, but for me, 'Gutter Ballet' is where they truly defined their sound and began a creative run that would see them continually release albums of high standards.

 Return to Wacken by SAVATAGE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
2.82 | 2 ratings

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Return to Wacken
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars 'Return to Wacken' is a very confusing and misleading compilation album that was released to coincide with Savatage's joint appearance with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the 2015 Wacken Festival in Germany.

The problem is that everything about this release made it seem like a live album, perhaps of one of the bands earlier Wacken appearances, which would have made the most sense. It even has "celebrating a return to the stage..." on the bloody cover! But instead, we get a compilation which is supposedly based upon and inspired by the set lists of Savatage's two previous performances at the prestigious event.

With that said, Savatage are one of my favourite bands, and the music here is still damn good. But as a compilation release, it's very underwhelming. With a wealth of material to choose from, reducing the bands best material down to a meagre eleven songs is near-impossible. Sure, we get 'Edge of Thorns', 'Chance', 'Hall of the Mountain King', 'Gutter Ballet' and 'The Wake of Magellan', not too shabby really, but there's still just so much missing, that it's pretty impossible to really care about this release at all.

Overall, 'Return to Wacken' is just a shameless cash-in on Savatage's return to the stage after a 14-year hiatus. It could make a good starting point for newcomers, but realistically there's better compilations or studio albums to choose from. The truly sad thing is that I knew all of this yet I bought it anyway because I'm such a huge fan and needed it in my collection.

 Poets & Madmen by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.90 | 110 ratings

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Poets & Madmen
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

5 stars I remember this one so well. It was the Summer of 2003, and I was 16 years-old. I randomly picked up 'Handful of Rain', with no prior knowledge of the band Savatage. It was alright. Nothing amazing, but one or two catchy songs that stuck with me. Fast forward a few months and I was Christmas shopping with my sister. Having stumbled across a secondhand music shop, I had to have a quick look, and it was there that I picked up 'Poets and Madmen'.

And from here, Savatage would go on to become one of my all-time favourite bands.

'Poets and Madmen' sees Jon Oliva return to lead vocals, and Chris Caffery picks up the bulk of the guitar work after Al Pitrelli had left to join Megadeth. Though not strictly a rock opera like those the band were famous for doing, there is a loose concept behind the music, based upon real-life photographer Kevin Carter. It's not exactly an easy narrative to follow, though it doesn't disrupt the flow of the album either.

With Savatage slowly taking more and more of a backseat to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (a Savatage-related band that was having multiplatinum success), it's evident that a lot of the music here was influenced by the aforementioned group. Bigger and more grandiose than ever before, each of the songs here is a true gem in their own right, with each instrument working in complete synergy to produce some of the bands tightest and most cohesive compositions.

Highlights include 'Stay With Me Awhile', 'Commissar', 'There in the Silence', 'Surrender', 'Back to a Reason', and the centerpiece of the album, the ten-minute 'Morphine Child'. Each song really shows a band at the peak of their creativity, with plenty of crushing riffs, beautiful melodies, classical-inspired passages and the vocal counterpoint harmonies that the band had made their own.

A remarkable smorgasbord of every perfected nuance that had ever given this band their own unique sound, it's a shame that Savatage spent the majority of their career in the "underrated" category, because this album is an absolute masterpiece.

 The Wake Of Magellan by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.83 | 148 ratings

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The Wake Of Magellan
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

5 stars After their 1995 concept album 'Dead Winter Dead', which spawned a small radio hit for the band, and the recently- formed Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which also garnered mainstream success, Savatage continue down the route of epic rock operas which would see the band reach new heights of creativity and critical acclaim during the late 90's.

Featuring all the pomp and circumstance that the band had incorporated into their sound since 1994's 'Handful of Rain', and even way before that if I'm being realistic, 'The Wake of Magellan' sees everything come together for Savatage. The story itself doesn't really make much sense to me, but it ties around the fictional story of a sailor who goes out to sea to end his life, only to find new meaning to carry on, and two real-life events involving a journalist who was murdered whilst trying to battle the growing drug trade in 90's Ireland, and of a sea captain who had Romanian stowaways thrown overboard.

How does any of this fit together? I have no idea (and I doubt many people do), but the music itself is compelling and the performances are sincere. That's good enough for me!

Using the same lineup from the previous album, the band have really gelled by this point, and the chemistry is evident. Zak Stevens delivers powerful vocals as always, and founding member Jon Oliva returns to sing for a number of songs, having never sounded better or more confident. His keyboards add a warm depth to the record as well, giving it that orchestral feeling but without all the pomposity of a full orchestra.

'Turns to Me', 'Morning Sun', 'Another Way', 'Paragons of Innocence' and 'The Hourglass' are all highlights that this fantastic album has to offer, with the true gem being the title track, 'The Wake of Magellan'. It's a big, epic piece, with an absolutely mind-blowing finale which sees the band utilize the vocal harmony counterpoint which they had used more and more over the last few releases, but perfected here.

A truly underrated gem when it comes to concept albums, capturing the very essence and atmosphere of a journey out to sea, 'The Wake of Magellan' is an absolute epic from start to finish.

 Handful Of Rain by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.82 | 106 ratings

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Handful Of Rain
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Released in 1994, 'Handful of Rain' was Savatage's first studio recording after the tragic death of guitarist and founding member Criss Oliva. Replaced by Alex Skolnick of Testament fame, this album catches the essence of Savatage's sound, but being released in the mid-90's, a time when most metal bands were desperately trying to adapt to suit the more grunge-inspired sound of the day, while still maintaining their own identity, it's easy to hear Savatage shift their own sound to a more groove-laden, grungy style. Imagine Alice in Chains mixed with Queen, and you're halfway there.

With heavy, crunchy guitar riffs, massive orchestrations and the trademark vocal counterpoint sections, 'Handful of Rain' incorporates a lot of the "epic" elements that the band would go on to use in later releases and with the Trans- Siberian Orchestra project. Standout performance goes to vocalist Zak Stevens, who's powerful voice truly carries the music on this album.

While things do tend to lag at times, 'Handful of Rain' is generally a solid release, and contains some of the bands most memorable songs. For example 'Chance', 'Taunting Cobras', 'Castles Burning', 'Watching You Fall' and the title track are all Savatage classics.

Whether it was the mid-90's lulling metal scene in general, or the band still mourning the loss of their brother, or maybe just a transitional period as they made tweaks to their sound, in comparison to the rest of Savatage's discography, 'Handful of Rain' comes across as mostly forgettable and irrelevant, and just sits between their power metal days and their more progressive, rock opera days.

Ultimately, it's a three-star album with five-star songs.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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