Jon Oliva's Pain
Maniacal Renderings

Release date: September 1st 2006
AFM Records
Distribution: Target (Denmark)

Power Metal

Rating: 89/100
Reviewed by:
Kenn Jensen
August 28th 2006

I have been following Savatage intensively ever since their brilliant 'Power of the Night' album, so it was with great sadness that I read the news earlier on this year, that Savatage would only be performing a few live shows later on this year before the band would cease to exist! This is off course the logical consequence of the well deserved success of Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

But thankfully we do still have Jon Oliva's Pain to keep the flame burning, and with 'Maniacal Renderings' he delivers an album filled with songs that brings back a lot of fond memories of old school Savatage - here I am talking about the period from 1987 - 1991, which I my opinion marks the pinnacle of Savatage's career with the releases of 'Hall of the Mountain King', 'Gutter Ballet' and more than anything else 'Streets - A Rock Opera' - to this date still my favorite Savatage album.

Actually a lot of the songs could easily go down as follow ups to songs from exactly that period, like the opener "Through the Eyes of the King" (to "Hall of the Mountain King"), "The Answer" (to "When the Crowds are Gone") or "Push it to the Limit" (a more modern sounding follow up to "White Witch"). The bombastic songs are also represented - just take a listen to the title track or "Playing God". "End Times" brings back memories of 'Streets' - another cool tune. Even the sound - the album was recorded at Audio Lab Studios in Tampa, Florida - has a lot in common with old school Savatage.

And no one knows how to incorporate the piano into power metal quite as cool as Jon Oliva, and the album has plenty of examples of just that! This is an album every Savatage fan will love, and now the future looks a lot brighter for us Savatage fans... I for one couldn't be happier, because this album exceeds my expectations and is even better than the first Jon Oliva's Pain album!

Well done!

A funny side note: The next generation of Oliva's can be heard on the limited editions: Tony Oliva (12 String Guitar), Anthony Oliva (Bass), Christopher J. Oliva (Acoustic Guitar) on "Reality's Fool" - the bonus song on the digipack issue. Christopher J. Oliva is handling the lead guitar on "Only You" - the bonus song for the special Tincase issue.

Note: The review copy of this CD contains either edited songs or voice-overs. Points will therefore be automatically deducted from the overall rating of the album.