The announcement of SAVATAGE going back to their roots again and to tighten
the "Power Screws" once more, raised superhuman expectations, that with the
current situation within the band, they could not fulfil completely.
After a three year wait, "Poets And Madmen" turned out to be "just" a good
instead of a pioneering album. The majority of the 11 songs in my opinion are
missing, despite some quite audible melodies and playful details, the magic
and moments of insanity we have become accustomed to, which are not to be
found not even after 3000 play rounds. "Streets", "Gutter Ballet", "Power Of
The Night" or "Hall Of The Mountain King" play in another league due to their
all-time classic songs. As for the compositions, the brilliant predecessor
"The Wake Of Magellan" obviously wins in comparison also. P&M uses some of
the explosive power of the legendary side project Doctor Butcher as well and
goes a bit under in the SAVATAGE-bombast-compromising-sound, although Criss
Olivaís "brother" Chris Caffery does a first class job as the main
responsible "String King" while Jeff Plateís drumming is clearly more lively
than ever as he gets a chance to express himself.
Considering that the 12th studio production (including "Dungeons") was in the
fridge for 16 months due to TSO obligations, and the fact that the departure
of both Zak Stevens (v) and Al Pitrelli (g) threw a large shadow over it, the
guys around Mountain King Jon Oliva managed to do a respectable job. Though
obviously the boss himself doesnít have the vocal abilities anymore that he
used to have, which brought to immeasurable masterly perfection the last time
he was Savatageís sole lead vocalist on the legendary 1991 "Streets". This
becomes clear on the weak tracks like "Awaken" or "I Seek Power".
Highlights for your voyage of discovery on P&M are "There In The Silence", a
very varied hit driven by an intelligible keyboard part and ending with a
furious Caffery solo. "Morphine Child", a mix between soft and heavy, and the
Matthias Breusch -8-
For the most part , I agree completely with your review Matthias, but why are
there so many points underneath? An 8 means advice to buy it unheard - and
this - with all the best will of the world - canít be said about this album.
Hardly any of us at the editorial office is really touched by this record.
Jon Oliva is partly singing very pressed and without power, to the extent
that a second voice should have been underneath his vocal tracks. Especially
since a lot of melody lines are obviously written for Zak Stevens and donít
fit Jonís timbre. Chrisí guitar play, on the contrary, is certainly perfect
but it is clear upon listening that he didnít write the riffs himself (?/YK)
. They also miss some of the sharpness that always set SAVATAGE apart. In
addition to this, the bombast production of Paul OíNeill is often more alike
TSO then alike SAVATAGE and nip every bit of power in the bud. Yet most
appalling are the compositions, that only at the end of the album ("Man In
The Mirror", "Surrender", "Awaken") reach an acceptable level.
What have you guys actually been doing in the past three years? I for certain
am disappointed by my most favorite power metal band and just can hope that
the (former?) "Dream-team" of Oliva/OíNeill donít let the golden success of
TSO wash away the creativity in their brains. "Poets And Madmen" namely
sounds frozen and saturated as if this was an album of burned out rock
Michael Rensen -6Ĺ-