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SAVATAGE

Progressive Metal • United States


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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 80´s 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 1989´s "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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Buy SAVATAGE Music


Hall of the Mountain KingHall of the Mountain King
Ais 2011
$6.97
$7.08 (used)
Streets: A Rock Opera (Narrated Version / Video Collection)Streets: A Rock Opera (Narrated Version / Video Collection)
CD+DVD
ABSOLUTE UK 2013
$8.22
$12.47 (used)
Savatage, Edge of ThornsSavatage, Edge of Thorns
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
$6.62
Poets & MadmenPoets & Madmen
Ais 2011
$6.65
$9.16 (used)
Power Of The NightPower Of The Night
Atlantic Off Roster 1990
$7.49
$3.01 (used)
Sirens and the Dungeons Are CallingSirens and the Dungeons Are Calling
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
$7.09
$11.07 (used)
Streets: Rock OperaStreets: Rock Opera
Ais 2011
$6.97
$7.03 (used)
Gutter BalletGutter Ballet
Ais 2011
$6.94
$9.13 (used)
The Wake of MagellanThe Wake of Magellan
101 DISTRIBUTION 2010
$6.96
$5.96 (used)
Still The Orchestra PlaysStill The Orchestra Plays
earMUSIC 2010
$6.73
$9.52 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Savatage - The Dungeons Are Calling ORIGINAL CANADIAN BANZAI RECORDS BAM VINYL USD $38.08 [0 bids]
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Handful of Rain by Savatage (CD, 1994 Atlantic) USD $3.19 [0 bids]
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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)

3.03 | 65 ratings
Sirens
1983
3.19 | 66 ratings
Power Of The Night
1985
2.25 | 57 ratings
Fight For The Rock
1986
3.87 | 141 ratings
Hall Of The Mountain King
1987
4.01 | 169 ratings
Gutter Ballet
1989
4.13 | 217 ratings
Streets - A Rock Opera
1991
4.01 | 160 ratings
Edge of Thorns
1993
3.82 | 100 ratings
Handful of Rain
1994
3.86 | 139 ratings
Dead Winter Dead
1995
3.87 | 141 ratings
The Wake of Magellan
1998
3.90 | 105 ratings
Poets & Madmen
2001

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

3.91 | 18 ratings
Japan Live '94
1995
4.53 | 31 ratings
Ghost in the Ruins / Final Bell
1995

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

3.83 | 10 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)

3.21 | 29 ratings
The Dungeons Are Calling
1985
2.33 | 6 ratings
One Child (single)
1996
3.06 | 9 ratings
Commissar
2001

SAVATAGE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Commissar by SAVATAGE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2001
3.06 | 9 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 | 169 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 | 105 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
3.87 | 141 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 | 100 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
3.87 | 141 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 | 57 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.

 The Dungeons Are Calling by SAVATAGE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1985
3.21 | 29 ratings

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The Dungeons Are Calling
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

2 stars After the release of their 1983 debut, Savatage were quick to follow up with this EP, 'The Dungeons Are Calling', that consists of songs that were originally recorded for 'Sirens', but left off due to time restraints.

Overall the selection of tracks is good, but these are pretty much leftovers from the bands previous release, and that's exactly what they sound like. 'City Beneath the Surface' and the title track are standout songs that prevents this EP from being a complete waste, but the rest of the songs are pretty average, especially when compared with Savatage's later material.

As with their first record, the production could be better, but it's raw, grittiness suits the music perfectly, giving it a distinctive 80's metal sound.

'Dungeons' has since been released with 'Sirens' on one CD, "how it was meant to be", according to Savatage mastermind Jon Oliva, which is probably just as well, because as a stand-alone release, I don't think there's much worth picking up here unless you're a dedicated member of the Savatage Legion.

 Power Of The Night by SAVATAGE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.19 | 66 ratings

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Power Of The Night
Savatage Progressive Metal

Review by martindavey87

3 stars Savatage's second album, and third overall release, is an improvement upon its predecessors, with every aspect of 'Power of the Night' being a step up from what the band had done before. The songwriting was more confident, the musicianship was more mature, and the production was a lot more polished, giving the album that perfect 80's metal sound (and there's nothing wrong with 80's metal dammit!).

The most obvious highlight here is the title track, which not only stands on its own merits as one of the bands better songs before they went all "classical metal", but honestly, it's one of their finer songs period. And while other tracks such as 'Warriors', 'Hard for Love' and 'Unusual' may be standard 80's metal pomp and circumstance, they're still pretty kickass anthems that indicate the talent and potential within this band.

Guitarist Criss Oliva truly shines here, showing a mastery that should have put him on par with heroes such as Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen, but whom sadly that legendary status had always eluded him. His flair for dramatic guitar playing is truly amazing to listen to, and fans of 80's metal (there's that term again), including subgenres such as power and thrash metal, will enjoy this shred masterclass.

If you're a Savatage fan (cheesily referred to as "Savafans", I believe), then 'Power of the Night' belongs in your collection. It's not the bands best work by far, but it's an early indication of the quality of music they were capable of writing, and would certainly establish them as a band worth keeping an eye on.

"Raise the first of the metal child".

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

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