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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 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-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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Sirens and the Dungeons Are CallingSirens and the Dungeons Are Calling
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
$6.98
$11.44 (used)
Hall of the Mountain KingHall of the Mountain King
Ais 2011
$6.74
$10.66 (used)
Streets: A Rock Opera (Narrated Version / Video Collection)Streets: A Rock Opera (Narrated Version / Video Collection)
CD+DVD
IMPORTS 2013
$9.58
$12.66 (used)
Gutter BalletGutter Ballet
Ais 2011
$7.70
$8.11 (used)
Power Of The NightPower Of The Night
Atlantic Off Roster 1990
$7.99
$1.42 (used)
Handful of RainHandful of Rain
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
$7.44
$4.88 (used)
The Wake of MagellanThe Wake of Magellan
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
$6.68
$9.41 (used)
Fight for the RockFight for the Rock
Edel Europe 2011
$6.70
$7.80 (used)
Ghost in the RuinsGhost in the Ruins
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
$7.02
$5.36 (used)
Savatage, Edge of ThornsSavatage, Edge of Thorns
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
$9.91
$8.98 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
RARE LP,Record:WARLORD-Deliver Us(WHITE VINYL-350 COPIES)Leather nunn,savatage USD $29.99 Buy It Now
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CAGE - ASTROLOGY cd savatage priest metal Supremacy Steel Annihilation SEALED! USD $11.98 [0 bids]
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Reverence-When Darkness Calls DIGI Ex-Savatage-Tokyo Blade,Devil Childe USD $15.99 Buy It Now 1h 51m
LOT of 12 METAL/ROCK/GLAM/SLEAZE Cassette tapes SAVATAGE LOUDNESS WHITE LION USD $9.99 [0 bids]
3h 15m
Savatage - Ghost in the Ruins (A Tribute to Chris Oliva, 2011) USD $6.50 [0 bids]
3h 58m
Savatage - Wake Of Magellan [IMPORT] (Sep-1997, Inter) USD $8.79 Buy It Now 4h 29m
CATCH 22 - SOULREAPER cd metallica maiden dio testament pantera savatage priest USD $11.98 [0 bids]
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5h 22m
Overkill / Savatage / Testament - Rock Ahead - 6 track promo, Rare Thrash Metal USD $4.55 [0 bids]
5h 46m
Doctor Butcher - S/T 1995 Zero Japan Edition W/OBI Rare OOP HTF Savatage Metal USD $38.99 Buy It Now 7h 55m
Savatage - Edge Of Thorns 1993/97 Victor Japan W/OBI Rare OOP HTF Metal Rock USD $38.99 Buy It Now 7h 55m
SAVATAGE Edge Of Thorns JAPAN CD AMCY-545 1993 OBI USD $33.05 Buy It Now 10h 10m
SAVATAGE - POETS AND MADMEN - Japan CD +2BONUS BOX- NEW USD $29.99 Buy It Now 13h 42m
REIGN - Now & Forever Savatage, Omen, Metal Church, Virgin Steele, Armored Saint USD $14.99 Buy It Now 18h 43m
Savatage - Sirens & Dungeons A (NEW CD) USD $11.08 Buy It Now 18h 47m
SAVATAGE - FIGHT FOR THE ROCK LP PICTURE DISC (VMLP014) USD $29.99 Buy It Now 19h 50m
Savatage - Power Of The Night 1985/97 Japan W/OBI Victor VICP-60091 Rare OOP HTF USD $78.99 Buy It Now 21h 14m
Savatage - Sirens + Dungeons Are Calling: The Complete Session [CD] USD $10.34 Buy It Now 22h 32m
Savatage - Sirens/Dungeons Are Calling: Complete Sessions (CD Used Like New) USD $10.07 Buy It Now 22h 36m
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Savatage-Handful of Rain (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $10.39 Buy It Now 22h 45m
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METAL HAMMER MAGAZINE 3/2002 DREAM THEATER ANNIHILATOR SAVATAGE RUNNING WILD USD $11.43 Buy It Now 23h 56m
95ynf The Pirate Album '83 Avatar-Pre Savatage New and sealed! WOW USD $142.99 [0 bids]
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SAVATAGE - HANDFUL OF RAIN CD 1994 ENGLAND IMPORT RARE USD $9.67 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage - Handful of Rain (CD, Aug-1994, Atlantic (Label)) USD $7.03 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - Fight For The Rock 1986 cassette ATLANTIC 81634-4 HEAVY METAL USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage: Streets A Rock Opera CD 1991 Atlantic Rec. 7 82320-2. Hair Metal Rock USD $5.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE FIGHT FOR THE ROCK , LP, GERMANY USD $18.00 Buy It Now 1 day
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SAVATAGE ~ GUTTER BALLET~ VINYL LP 1ST 1989 ATLANTIC ALSDORF VG+/EX INC INNER USD $36.41 Buy It Now 1 day
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?CD? SAVATAGE / EDGE OF THORNS + 2 =JAPAN no OBI= [U.S.METAL] 1993 USD $3.80 [1 bids]
1 day
?CD? SAVATAGE / THE WAKE OF MAGELLAN =JAPAN w/OBI= [U.S.METAL] 1997 USD $5.80 [1 bids]
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SAVATAGE Sirens vinyl LP 1985 Music For Nations Records VG+ METAL USD $85.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage: The Wake Of Magellan CD 1998 Bonus Tracks Atlantic / Lava USA 83100-2 USD $8.95 Buy It Now 1 day
DAMIEN STEELE cd PRETTY WICKED Leatherwolf QUEENSRYCHE Fates Warning SAVATAGE USD $27.99 [0 bids]
1 day
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Savatage Edge Of Thorns USD $0.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Savatage - Sirens Dungeons Are Calling The Complete Session [CD] USD $10.64 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE Japan 10 tracks CD, HANDFUL OF RAIN USD $29.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage 'Fight For The Rock' LTD Ed 1000cop Pic LP Picture Disc Vinyl Record EX USD $39.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage 'Power Of The Night' LTD Ed 1000cop Pic LP Picture Disc Vinyl Record EX USD $59.95 Buy It Now 1 day
Savatage Dungeons Are Calling SILVER ANNIVERSARY EDITION METAL BLADE CD USD $12.00 [0 bids]
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DARK AGE-s/t CD Omen,Griffin,Savatage,Warlord,Heathens Rage,Witch Cross,Private USD $15.99 Buy It Now 1 day
The Wake of Magellan by Savatage (CD, Jan-2004, Japan Imp.) New Sealed USD $25.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SAVATAGE - GUTTER BALLET USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $9.09 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE Streets A Rock Opera - Cassette USD $5.28 Buy It Now 2 days
Handful of Rain by Savatage (CD, Aug-1994, Atlantic (Label)) USD $3.00 Buy It Now 2 days
GLENMORE Materialized / 1992 / MC CASSETTE DREAM THEATER, SAVATAGE USD $17.99 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE-FIGHT FOR THE ROCK NEW CD USD $17.03 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE Hall of the Mountain King CASSETTE TAPE HARD ROCK METAL USD $8.50 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE Fight for the Rock CASSETTE TAPE HARD ROCK METAL USD $8.50 Buy It Now 2 days
Global Warning JON OLIVA'S PAIN CD ( SAVATAGE) USD $12.09 Buy It Now 2 days
Raise the Curtain [Digipak] JON OLIVA CD ( FREE SHIPPING) SAVATAGE USD $9.82 Buy It Now 2 days
Power of the Night [Digipak] by Savatage (CD, Apr-2011, Ear) USD $17.28 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Handful of Rain [New CD] USD $10.94 Buy It Now 2 days
METAL Promo CD Helloween-Blind Guardian-Savatage-Angel Dust-Hammerfall-Sentenced USD $4.95 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage Streets (A Rock Opera) Japan CD 1991 AMCY-304 USD $12.99 Buy It Now 2 days
T.M. STEVENS Shocka Zooloo JAPAN CD VICP-61339 Trans-Siberian Orchestra Savatage USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE Gutter Ballet JAPAN CD Avatar Jon Oliva's Pain Doctor Butcher Reverence USD $16.99 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE - COMMISSAR [SINGLE] NEW CD USD $12.30 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE - FIGHT FOR THE ROCK NEW CD USD $72.30 Buy It Now 2 days
AVATAR / SAVATAGE City beneath the surface - PAR RECORDS - PAR 1002 USD $160.00 [0 bids]
2 days
Savatage - Poets And Madmen(2 Bonus Tracks) USD $14.43 Buy It Now 2 days
Streets: A Rock Opera by Savatage (CD, Apr-2011, Ear) USD $14.43 Buy It Now 2 days
3 Cd Lot- PRONG, CHRIS CAFFERY, FAITH NO MORE (savatage, TSO, metallica) USD $8.99 [0 bids]
USD $15.99 Buy It Now
2 days
Savatage Japan Live '94 Japan CD w/obi XRCN-1210 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Power Of The Night 4029759040224 (CD Used Like New) USD $9.26 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage - Return To Wacken (CD Used Very Good) USD $14.34 Buy It Now 2 days
EVERWOOD-MIND GAMES ,SEALED DIGIPACK CD, SAVATAGE,DREAM THEATER,FATES WARNING USD $9.01 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage-Return to Wacken CD NEW USD $27.65 Buy It Now 2 days
SAVATAGE EDGE OF THORNS CASSETTE USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Savatage- Gutter Ballet LP Vinyl Original 1989 USD $35.25 [0 bids]
USD $52.00 Buy It Now
2 days
SAVATAGE GUTTER BALLET CASSETTE USD $19.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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SAVATAGE Dead Winter Dead CD ORG Atlantic 7 82850-2 Heavy Metal USD $7.00 Buy It Now 3 days
SAVATAGE Edge Of Thorns CD ORG Atlantic 7 82488-2 Heavy Metal USD $7.00 Buy It Now 3 days
SAVATAGE Handful Of Rain CD ORG Atlantic 7 82660-2 Heavy Metal USD $7.00 Buy It Now 3 days
SAVATAGE Streets A Rock Opera CD ORG Atlantic 7 82320-2 Heavy Metal USD $7.00 Buy It Now 3 days
Chris Caffery - W.A.R.P.E.D (CD, Sep-2005, Black Lotus (USA) DIGIPAK SAVATAGE USD $4.83 Buy It Now 3 days
SAVATAGE / STREETS A ROCK OPERA CD USD $8.25 [0 bids]
3 days
SAVATAGE - Poets & Madmen CD 2001 SPV STEAMHAMMER IMPORT + 2 POSTER USD $17.59 Buy It Now 3 days
SAVATAGE - STREETS A ROCK OPERA CD 1994 JAPAN OBI AMCY-712 ATLANTIC RARE USD $16.71 Buy It Now 3 days
SAVATAGE - WAKE OF THE MAGELLAN CD 1997 LIMITED EDITION POSTER SLIPCASE USD $17.59 Buy It Now 3 days
SAVATAGE ORIGINAL CD "HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING" ATLANTIC RECORDS 1987 10 TRACKS USD $9.99 [0 bids]
3 days
SAVATAGE CD "SIRENS" ON METAL BLADE RECORDS - 11 KILLER TRACKS USD $6.99 [0 bids]
3 days
SAVATAGE - Hall of the Mountain King LP (RARE 1st US Pressing on ATLANTIC) USD $69.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Savatage ?- Streets (A Rock Opera)..org,1991...very rare first press!!!!! USD $18.00 [5 bids]
3 days
Savatage ?- Sirens ..org,1985..RR...in very good condition..rare!! USD $50.00 [8 bids]
3 days
Savatage LP Power Of The Night on Atlantic heavy metal USD $35.00 Buy It Now 3 days
Savatage - Handful Of Rain (CD, 1994, Atlantic Records) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Savatage-Ghost in the Ruins CD NEW USD $16.69 Buy It Now 3 days

More places to buy SAVATAGE music online Buy SAVATAGE & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

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 | 69 ratings
Sirens
1983
3.19 | 71 ratings
Power Of The Night
1985
2.25 | 59 ratings
Fight For The Rock
1986
3.88 | 145 ratings
Hall Of The Mountain King
1987
4.01 | 174 ratings
Gutter Ballet
1989
4.14 | 220 ratings
Streets - A Rock Opera
1991
4.02 | 164 ratings
Edge Of Thorns
1993
3.82 | 103 ratings
Handful Of Rain
1994
3.88 | 143 ratings
Dead Winter Dead
1995
3.83 | 146 ratings
The Wake Of Magellan
1998
3.91 | 108 ratings
Poets & Madmen
2001

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

3.61 | 22 ratings
Japan Live '94
1995
4.54 | 33 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 | 2 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)

3.22 | 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
 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 | 146 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 | 174 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
3.91 | 108 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 | 146 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 | 103 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.

 Hall Of The Mountain King by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.88 | 145 ratings

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Hall Of The Mountain King
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Welcome back boys! After the disaster that was 'Fight for the Rock', Savatage's brief foray into adult-oriented rock (forced upon them by their label), the band rebound with an album that puts them back on track, and has gone on to be regarded as one of their most beloved releases, and certainly one that would maintain their upward momentum as a string of successful records would follow.

With the group going back to their heavier roots, there's a strong emphasis on fast, energetic guitar riffs, with early hints of the more classical-inspired sound that the band would adopt on later, more ambitious releases. Criss Oliva's blistering guitar work is second-to-none, and his brother, vocalist Jon Oliva's voice is as harsh and brutal as it's ever been. Each note really screaming out with pure passion and energy.

Highlights from this album include '24 Hours Ago', 'Beyond the Doors of the Dark', 'The Price You Pay', 'Strange Wings', 'Devastation' and of course, the title track itself. While I didn't mind 'Fight for the Rock', this is certainly a return to form for Savatage, and although it may be somewhat surpassed by the groups later material, it definitely still holds up well as a solid heavy metal album.

"Madness reigns..."

 Fight For The Rock by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.25 | 59 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.

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

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