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Jon Oliva's Pain - Festival CD (album) cover

FESTIVAL

Jon Oliva's Pain

 

Progressive Metal

2.78 | 23 ratings

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surrogate people
3 stars Well, still remembering how I fell in love with Hall of the mountain king back in 87 I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Jon Oliva was still around making music, so I decided to give his solo band a try and almost randomly ordered one of their CDs, 2010 Festival. In the first place I would like to state that this is no progressive metal, but a heavy metal album to my ears. Sure there are time changes, solos and songs longer than your average rock four minutes, but that was something commonly done by metal bands in the eighties long before the term "progressive metal" was coined. Opener Lies starts with a classical reminiscent intro and quickly grows into a galloping metal song that's fine if not particulary exciting. The chorus reminds me of Genesis' Back in NYC quite a bit, and halfway through some changes make it a bit more interesting. Next comes Death rides a black Horse, which has a very Kashmir-like feel and is one of my favorite ones here, with a powerful chorus and a fine doubled guitar solo.The title song is another of the strong moments, the riffing is quite good and the melodies are very Savatage-ish, too bad Jon can't hit those high notes anymore!!. Afterglow is according to Jon's liner notes "by far the most complex song of the CD",unfortunately not all parts are equally good. starts like a folky ballad but I quite like the chorus, strong and backed by symph keys .The song features some strings in the middle and a more uptempo section that includes swing parts in the middle of the heavy riffing. Living on the edge is a standard midtempo metal song and Looking for nothing is an uninspired ballad.The evil within is a downtuned tune which according to Jon Oliva is VERY DARK. I quite like it, but i find not much to highlight, maybe the "dreamy" midsection with lots of guitars and a synth bass followed by a heavy riff that ends the song. Winter heaven is yet another ballad I can do without, while I fear you is a bit doomier, the best song in the second half of the album to my ears, where Oliva's tortured voice perfectly fits the dense atmosphere. Closer Now is yet another slow number. Liner notes state that parts of it were written when Jon was 18, so I guess he had enough time to come with something better that this one. All in all a fine album that's hardly going to atract anyone who's not into traditional heavy metal. The musicianship is good but not outstanding and is surprising to find out how many Criss Oliva bits were used on the songs if we take into account that he had been dead for almost 20 years. As for Jon's voice....well not as it used to be but still does fine for the most part. Not for prog lovers, not even prog metal freaks.
surrogate people | 3/5 |

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