Angry Metal Guy
I’ve been following Jon Oliva’s career since I was a wee metal lad. I loved the classic Savatage albums like The Dungeons are Calling and Hall of the Mountain King and while I didn’t enjoy their eventual metamorphosis into a Broadway-like, show tuney act on later albums like Gutter Ballet and Handful of Rain, I always had a soft spot for Oliva’s singing. I also enjoyed a lot of the Jon Oliva’s Pain material even though it could be inconsistent. It was somewhat of a surprise to see him appear with this new eponymous act, but apparently Mr. Oliva felt the new moniker was more appropriate since this features music written by his deceased brother and former Savatage bandmate Criss Oliva.
While the material here isn’t vastly different from later period Savatage or the Jon Oliva’s Pain discography, it’s a more masterful fusion of metal, progressive rock like Yes, and old Genesis and Broadway-style, jazz handy wackiness, though thankfully, the Broadway elements are mostly kept in check. Jon Oliva is a metal institution, he has one of the most distinctive voices out there, he’s performing music with a deep personal connection and since he helped create Trans-Siberian Orchestra, he’s pretty much Father Fucking Christmas. Needless to say, I was really intrigued to hear Raise the Curtain. It turns out to be quite the insidious grower and achieves a lot of what Savatage strived for on later albums, but couldn’t quite get right. It’s also one of the nicer surprises of the year and a whole lot of fun too.
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