Out Now on AFM Records
The legendary Savatage vocalist is back with his fourth solo album and after a slight disappointment in the song writing on the previous effort “Global Warming”, the new effort sees the song writing come back up to par. Unfortunately this is hampered by a somewhat slightly muddy production where you get the impression the power is held back just a little. Fortunately this doesn’t distract too much for this 10 tracks of metal goodness.
Jon is fine voice screaming out the best I have heard him in a few years with opener “Lies” seeing all kinds of spite and vitriol hitting the mic. “Death Rides A Black Horse” is suitably epic and a highlight, being home to a superb middle solo section where the dark vibe is lethally good. The title track continues the good work with a Blackmore-ish riff. “Afterglow” sees the band get slow and doomy and this wouldn’t be out of place on the last Heaven & Hell effort. “Living On The Edge” doesn’t offer up any relent from the sonic assault and its nice to see Jon keeping the level balls to the wall for the first half of the album. “Looking For Nothing” sees some respite for this acoustic ballad whilst the prettiness is blown out the water with the pounding “The Evil Within” which is a riff-fest pure and simple. “Winter Haven” is about as close as the album gets to later day Savatage and even has a little Led Zep about it in places and is a very nice addition. “I Fear You” is back to the more straightforward sound, yet has a nice dose of melody to it whilst the delicate “Now” offers a nice sense of closure to album being the kind of power ballad Jon excels at.
With his fourth solo effort Jon Oliva is right back on course where the first couple of Pain albums left off, for the most part straight ahead and powerful. Classic Metal done with a nod to the present but an appreciation of the past. Jon’s voice is one of the most unique and soulful in metal and it’s nice to hear him belting it out once again. Savatage and TSO fans will enjoy this as will the casual metal fan.
Rating – 88%