Jon Oliva's Pain

Rating: 90/100

Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen, November '04
Label: Steamhammer
Style: Heavy Metal

'Tage Mahal

Just like the sticker on the cover so perfectly states: "The Return of the Mountain King! Jon Oliva of Savatage". This is a "take no prisoner" old-school Savatage album, that leaves "Poets And Madmen" (the disastrous last album from Savatage) way behind.

Main reason is Jon's vocal performance on the album, he sings as great as he did on "Streets", the raw songs are all excellent and reminds of the good old Savatage days, and at times even a bit of Dr. Butcher. This is raw and pure metal from The Mountain King.

And he is not without humor either; the lyrics to the song "People Say - Gimme Some Hell" are made from old Savatage song-titles! Pretty good idea ... And ther's a deeper idea behind the title of the album as well: His late brother Criss had just begun working on a solo-project, working title: 'Tage Mahal", when he was killed in a car accident. So it's sort of a tribute to him.

No matter if the music is symphonic ("The Dark"), melodic ("Walk Alone") or just pure metal ("Pain"), we are served with very good music. Not a bad track on the entire album speaks for itself!

The production fits the music perfectly - raw and unpolished, but still clear and crisp! It was actually recorded the old-school way on tape and not digitally! The band supporting him on this album is doing their job very well - actually it's the same guys Zak Stevens used for his first solo-album.

Comparred with Chris Caffery's solo-album, I think, this album has so much more to offer. And I think it's great to hear an album, that brings back found memories of old-school Savatage music! I can only recommend fans of Savatage to get this album now ... it ROCKS!!!

Recommended tracks: "The Dark", "Walk Alone", "All The Time" and "Pain"