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Savatage - Dead Winter Dead CD (album) cover

DEAD WINTER DEAD

Savatage

 

Progressive Metal

3.82 | 154 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Dead Winter Dead" is the 9th full-length studio album by US power/heavy/progressive metal act Savatage. The album was released through Atlantic Records in October 1995. Itīs the successor to "Handful Of Rain" from 1994 and features a couple of lineup changes since the predecessor as guitarist Alex Skolnick has jumped ship, and has been replaced by a returning Chris Caffery (who performed with Savatage in the late 80s and also collaborated with Jon Oliva on the Doctor Butcher project) and former Alice Cooper guitarist Al Pitrelli. Drummer Steve Wacholz had in reality already left Savatage before the recording of "Handful Of Rain (1994)" although he is credited for playing on the album. On the tour supporting "Handful Of Rain (1994)", Jeff Plate was hired as the bandīs drummer, and he makes his first studio album appearance on "Dead Winter Dead".

"Dead Winter Dead" is a concept release (their second concept release after "Streets" from 1991), taking place in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo during the Bosnian war in the period 1990 to 1994. The main characters of the story are a young Serbian man and a young muslim Bosnian girl, who during the story realise the terrors of war and that fighting each other wonīt help them have the future they both dream of. The story also features other twists like the old man playing Mozart and Beethoven compositions on his cello in the town square while mortar shells rain down from the sky around him (ultimately killing him). A symbol of beauty destroyed by the ugliness of war.

Stylistically "Dead Winter Dead" is a dynamic and varied release. Everything from mellow ballad type passages, to power ballads, orchestral arrangements and musical style melodies and build-ups, choirs and counterpoint vocal parts, to the occasional harder edged US power/heavy metal track, are featured on the album. All arranged on the tracklist to accompany the storyline. The band are as always professional and well playing, and the two new guitarists do a great job throughout the album. Zachary Stevens sings most lead vocal parts, but Jon Oliva makes a return singing lead vocals on "I Am" and "Doesnīt Matter Anyway" as well as singing backing vocals on "Starlight". While Stevens is a powerful and skilled vocalist, itīs hard not to notice how much stronger the vocal part of the music becomes when Oliva sings. Stevens is a class act, but Oliva is in the world elite of metal singers, and thatīs just hard to compete with.

"Dead Winter Dead" is a well produced album and features a mix where all details are clearly audible. So upon conclusion "Dead Winter Dead" is another high quality release by Savatage. Itīs one of their most progressive releases in terms of diversity and compositional sophistication, but itīs also one of their least "metal" releases in terms of sheer heavy metal power, and the listener should brace themselves for a more musical style listening experience. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

UMUR | 3/5 |

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