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S.D.
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PostSubject: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:05 am

I think Savatage is worth discussing.  I will admit that I am not a fan of their later material or anything without Jon on lead vocals.  However, I think there is good material on everything from Sirens to Gutter Ballet (well, Fight For The Rock kind of fucks that up) and a few tracks on Streets.  

Savatage was a blind purchase, I saw The Dungeons Are Calling on the new release wall at my local record store and figured anything with a cover that fucking ridiculous had to at least be entertaining.  I never regretted that purchase.  

I was a fan throughout the 80s, the last album I bought was Edge Of Thorns.  I just couldn't handle it after Criss died, with both of the brothers gone it ceased to be Savatage.  By that point it had turned into "The Paul O'Neill Project".  

Anyway, I'll go into more detail on the albums later, just wanted to kickstart some Sava-discussion.

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Fat Freddy
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:04 am

I say ... they're awesome!! One of my all time faves. I like all their stuff to a degree, but my fave era would be "Power of the Night" thru "Edge of Thorns."

I saw them live w/Jon Oliva on the "Gutter Ballet" tour and it was, by far, my favorite show EVER. I also saw them w/Zak around the "Dead Winter Dead" era and they were very good too, but it wasn't the same.
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:55 am

This is the sound that made me a Savatage fan...




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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:36 pm

I like them - not as big of a fan as Keith, but I do like them. I actually circled back to them as a fan - after Fight For The Rock, I didn't buy Hall until after Gutter Ballet... so I went back and picked up... Lost track again around Streets and didn't buy the post-Streets albums until they became TSO... I picked up Christmas Eve and went back to get the albums I missed. I like those albums - you can hear the natural progression from Savatage to TSO.

I do like TSO and have seen them live a few times.
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:31 pm

One of my favorite US power metal bands. I'll never forget the first time I heard Edge of Thorns on the radio in '93, and my hairs stood straight up. Ironically, as much as I loved the uneven but emotional Handful of Rain, I found myself caring only for the Jon/Criss era (while the title track was marvelous, the entirety of Edge of Thorns is wildly overrated IMO).

My favorite album switches all the time. Right now it's Sirens; I love how Criss riffs using the entire neck, much like Randy Rhoads, and that album is so raw and gritty. Criss is a big inspiration for how I've played guitar through the years.
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:37 pm

I should also say I've been exploring a lot of USPM from the 80's this year. I love the subgenre and it's easily my second favorite next to thrash. That said, I've yet to find a band that holds a candle to Savatage, even Metal Church (which is saying a lot). They truly are my premier USPM band.

One of the reasons youtube is the greatest website available:

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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:05 pm

Criss plays insane shit throughout that video and makes it look effortless.

I guess if I was going to rank the initial albums with Jon...

1. The Dungeons Are Calling (I know, it's an EP, it still counts as a release)
2. Sirens
3. Hall Of The Mountain King
4. Gutter Ballet
5. Power Of The Night
6. Streets
7. Fight For The Rock

Edge of Thorns is technically a better album than 6 & 7 from the above list but I absolutely HATE Zak Stevens voice so it goes all the way to the bottom.

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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:20 pm

Yeah you know how you watch a band's music video and they're rocking out like mad since all they have to do is ad-lib, and then you watch live footage and it's so much more restrained? Not here. Criss' combo of stage presence and technical precision is mind blowing. The whole band, in fact, is on fire more than in the HOTMK video!

Hmmm this would be my (current) ranking, similar to yours Shawn:

1. Sirens/Dungeons (I count these as one since they were intended as such)
2. Gutter Ballet (far less primal than I like but it's such a damn fun album)
3. HOTMK
4. Power of the Night (to be honest this one has always been a little difficult to get into)
5. Streets (I do like this one but it's so light and fluffy...)

And would you believe it, I've never heard Fight for the Rock! Mostly due to the negative reputation; I really should give it a chance. I hear there are a couple of gems within.
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:22 pm

Oh and as for the Zach years, like I said Handful of Rain has some musical greatness (Alone You Breathe is an absolute tear-jerker) but Zach is a terrible singer when he pushes it and tries to be a rock god. His baritone is very beautiful. It's like he was made for musical theater rather than rock opera. Regardless, it grates on my nerves.
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:59 am

There are no gems on Fight For The Rock, it's just painfully dull. Plus it sounds like the label gave them about $30 for the recording, it's flat as a pancake.


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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:55 am

"Hyde" and "Red Light Paradise" are passable tracks on "Fight For The Rock"...and though most people don't, I kinda like the cover of Badfinger's "Day After Day" too... in a weird way, it kinda foreshadows some of the plaintive, piano-based stuff on later albums.
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:05 pm

I remember one of my brothers (may he rest in peace) really jammed Edge Of Thorns, Gutter Ballet and Handful Of Rain a lot so that's all I heard growing up but when The Wake Of Magellan came out in '98 I bought it and immediately liked it so I backtracked and really liked everything with Criss and a few of the latter releases took a bit fore me to get into. That being said I really don't know much about the band's history like I do most other bands I dig except Criss' death. I couldn't even tell you when Jon "left" but he's the reason I bought "Magellan".
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:22 pm

Jon was having "health problems" in the early 90s (he was a junkie) and decided to step down from vocal duties. He still wrote, co-produced and played keyboards on Edge of Thorns, he just didn't sing.


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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:42 pm

Man, after looking at some of the details of the albums on Wiki there were a lot of goings on personnel wise after Criss' death. I was surprised to see all that Jon did on Handful Of Rain, I will have to jam it later as I feel I'll appreciate that album much more now.
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:46 pm

Paul O'Neill really took over the band from Streets onward, that quite possibly could have been label dictated considering Jon's personal problems. I consider them more of a "project" than an actual group after Criss died.


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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:09 pm

Handful of Rain is essentially a Jon Oliva solo album. He did everything except lead vocals and guitar solos (Alex Skolnick).
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:44 pm

I picked up Sirens and HOFMK on cassette back in the early 90s and really dug those two albums. Then I bought Dead Winter Dead around the early 2000s, but I just thought that it was ok-good(the Xmas song is killer though. On a side note, I had a co-worker who lived though that war. Her fiance was killed by a sniper just walking from point A to Point B.) I think that I might be an oddball because I really like Out on the Streets from Sirens...... hell I dig whole that album!

I didn't pick up Dungeons and POTN until waaaay later.
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:31 pm

The first Savatage release I ever picked up was The Dungeons Are Calling. I originally thought it to be a NWOBHM release I had never come across before because the horrible cover art pointed to that era. After playing it, I was pleasantly surprised and still love that album. Dungeons and Sirens are still my top two, but I enjoy everything they did up to Streets to an extent.

1. The Dungeons Are Calling
2. Sirens
3. Hall Of The Mountain King
4. Gutter Ballet
5. Power Of The Night
6. Fight For The Rock
7. Streets

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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:30 am

DeathCult wrote:
The first Savatage release I ever picked up was The Dungeons Are Calling. I originally thought it to be a NWOBHM release I had never come across before because the horrible cover art pointed to that era. After playing it, I was pleasantly surprised and still love that album. Dungeons and Sirens are still my top two, but I enjoy everything they did up to Streets to an extent.

1. The Dungeons Are Calling
2. Sirens
3. Hall Of The Mountain King
4. Gutter Ballet
5. Power Of The Night
6. Fight For The Rock
7. Streets

Our lists are quite similar, but I think the good material on Streets (Jesus Saves, Ghost In The Ruins) is better than anything on Fight For The Rock.

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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:46 am

I haven't listened to either album in quite a long time as those are my least two favorites, so I just went off the recollection that Streets is a metal lite type deal. If I were to spin them both though, our lists would probably match.

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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:43 pm

Fucking love Savatage, I just don't jam them as much as I used to.

And I like Zach, too.  What a Face 
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:22 pm

It's been a long ass time since I've heard Edge of Thorns so I threw it on today for a complete revisit. Basically I'm eating crow. I was sorely mistaken with this album (I always thought it terribly overrated). I suppose my resentment was that it didn't carry the intensity that earlier albums had, and Zach's voice was bothersome. While these are still true, there is a lot of musically gold moments throughout, and Criss is in top form. Plus the theatrical nature we hear in Streets gets toned down. The ballads kind of suck (especially compared to earlier ones) but the heavier numbers are truly HEAVY. As for Zach, I'm reminded of how sour Jon's voice was getting on Gutter Ballet, and ironically if you think about it Zach has more skill. However, I stand by the fact that Jon's voice had almost the same charm that Freddie Mercury had and was enjoyable even in his most quasi-theatrical light. So overall, Edge is right up there Handful of Rain, although not quite Gutter, and I admit I was wrong about this fine album ever since it's release date.
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:51 pm

I like Zach but then again it was his stuff my bro exposed me to more.
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:32 am

I bought Fight for the Rock to check it out and complete my Oliva collection. Haven't heard it yet, but read the lyrics to the first song--good god, all of a sudden Stryper's Sing-Along Song seems like Robert Frost's work. Also, the thing comes with a Parental Advisory sticker and even the booklet says Explicit Lyrics--I read through them all and can't find anything the least offensive; not even a fucking swear word!
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PostSubject: Re: Savatage - what say you?   Tue Jul 29, 2014 10:46 am

Reading Savatage lyrics is never a good idea, especially on Power Of The Night, an album whose lyrics venture so far into stupid territory it actually interferes with my enjoyment of the music.

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