savatage tso solo projects

power of the night review by jim gordon
It's strange how fans of Savatage often have a strong opinion or association with all of the group's albums. For example, some would say "The Dungeons Are Calling" is the "heavy" album, "Hall of the Mountain King" is the "breakthrough" album, "Fight For the Rock" is the "sellout" album, Dead Winter Dead is the "orchestral" album, and so on and so forth. Well, what does that make Power of the Night? Not an easy question. Although this is a solid album, it's hard to point to what Savatage's first album for Atlantic really stands for in the context of the band's history. Even though this album doesn't really contain any of the widely acknowledged "true classics" which stand out, and are at the top of fans' concert wishlists, this was a solid metal album.
1. power of the night- 5:12
The album starts with this anthemic title track, which explores the well-trodden theme of metal-fan unity. It's fitting that this track be included on the upcoming greatest hits album. Somewhat dissonant chords keep the listener's interest going. With this track, it becomes apparent that even though the production is thinner and not as meaty as "Dungeons", Savatage continues to play straightforward metal on this album.
2. unusual - 4:23
The keyboard effects used throughout this song are a definite improvement over the cheesy early, early, (and I mean early) Eighties synth-sounds used on the previous EP. In fact, although this album is over a decade old, the keyboard sounds are quite similar to what Fear Factory incorporated into their act, when I saw them tour with Iron Maiden this spring. This tale of delirium and desire continues the early Savatage theme of supernatural women (Sirens, By the Grace of the Witch, etc.).
3. warriors - 4:00
The epic keyboard intro to this song alone makes it worthwhile. Another anti-war rant along the lines of "Holocaust", but in supernatural terms, this song is well done, with outstanding inflections by Jon, and Doc Killdrums' steady beat and powerful, accurate fills.
4. necrophilia - 3:35
Not much to say about this song. I think the title sums up the theme pretty well. A fast-paced song with solid riffs, but nothing outstanding.
5. washed out - 2:13
Remember "Rage" from Sirens? This is a fast thrasher in a similar vein, but not as heavy, or cathartic. Still, the flanged guitar intro is pretty bracing.
6. hard for love - 3:57
A good, solid hard rock song which has a catchy chorus. It might not be anything that other bands haven't done, but as usual, Savatage delivers it better. Listen to this one before you go on the prowl.
7. fountain of youth - 4:28
Somewhat reminiscent of Rush, this song's medium-paced chug and burn might've been better placed right after Washed Out. The laid-back feel of this song provides some nice contrast in the album overall. Lyrically, it vacillates between intriguing vagueness, and overt story-telling.
8. skull session - 3:18
X-rated lessons, aside, this song's innuendoes seem tame nowadays, and I thought "The Whip" did a better job of it. Overall, the song isn't bad; just a tad redundant. It still rocks, though.
9. stuck on you - 3:06
This song sounds somewhat like Roth-era Van Halen. The down-tuned intro-riff is classic Hollywood-metal, without the glitzy baggage which Van Halen & co. sometimes had to deal with, image-wise. As a result, it has a more "menacing", serious tone to it.
10. in the dream - 4:10
I've always been a sucker for Savatage power ballads. This song indicated a musical turn for Savatage which wasn't to come for a few more years. Lyrically simple, this song of lost love is a beautiful, emotional song. Jon Oliva's understated keyboard playing adds the perfect touch to the song, and Criss Oliva's guitar playing takes on a new sort of passion when removed from the dark menace which pervades much of Savatage's early material (don't get me wrong, I like that menace, but contrast always makes for good material). An outstanding song to close out the album.
conclusion
So what is this album's role in the hierarchy of Savatage material? I can only think of two descriptions- the "solid" album, or maybe just the "third" album. No matter what one may term it, it's still a good album.