|Yeah, That's Savatage||
Aardschok Netherlands, March 2001
At last, after a three year wait "Poets & Madmen", the 17th Savatage album, is out. Of course a lot has happened since their last release, The Wake Of Magellan, and now. Al Pitrelli has left the band as too, one half of the Savatage lead vocalist team, Zak Stevens. While both have left the Savatage fold prior to the release of "Poets & Madmen", Al Pitrelli did leave behind parting contributions to the album.
The Trans Siberian Orchestra kept us "busy" with two albums, namely "The Christmas Attic" (1998) and "Beethoven's Last Night" (2000), but the fans and me as well were anxious awaiting the new album."
"Poets And Madmen" is the fourth concept album released by Savatage following in the footsteps of "Streets", "Dead Winter Dead" and "The Wake Of Magellan". With Zak Stevens stepping down Jon Oliva takes sole charge once of all vocal parts and he does so with verve. Listen to "There In The Silence" and you're sold right away (the mountain king rules).
Striking are the heavy and strong guitar parts on songs like "Commissar", "I Seek Power" and "Awaken", while the typical melodic piano parts aren't missing either . Furthermore the two orchestral semi ballads "Morphine Child" (with superb vocal counter parts) and "Surrender", are songs that will take care of Savatage being in complete interest again. Known influences are to be found on "Back To A Reason" which could have been on "Gutter Ballet" , "Drive" has Savatage bringing us musically back to "The Dungeons Are Calling" days while Doctor Butcher characteristics are to be found on this album as well, especially in the heavy "I Seek Power".
In other words, Savatage is back!!! The more you listen to this album, the better it gets. I can confidently claim that this is one of the best Savatage albums ever and only a missing Zak Stevens prevents me from giving "Poets & Madmen" the maximum score possible.
Rating: 95 out of 100