SAVATAGE – Poets And Madmen

SAVATAGE - Poets And Madmen


Release date: March 6, 2001

User Review
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The question is; how is it possible to give a record full score when the band has done at least four albums that are all slightly better? It doesn’t make sense, but this is Savatage, simply the best band ever to have emerged this planet, so there’s your answer. I never dare to have great expectations when Savatage releases a new record, and what I heard in New York last November still didn’t really hit my solar plexus. But “Poets And Madmen”, a title that might as well describe master producer Paul O’Neill vs. the band, really grows on you. Oliva’s acoustic thing in ”The Rumor (Jesus)” is a bit boring, and Pitrelli’s plastic sound doesn’t fit perfectly with Caffery’s metal attack, but apart from that, this is classic Savatage right on through.

Jon Oliva, the heavy smoker that now has lounges half the size compared to eleven years ago, can still sing better than any heavy metal singer out there. Not technically, but… His unique, charming and expressive vocal performance proves it all, and tells me once again that The Mountain King could have made a fortune doing voices for the Disney Company. His raspy grunts in “Commissar”, his clean touching voice and his twisted expressions are simply, once again, unique. Oliva gives the “Broadway-parts” in “Morphine Child” a dimension not of this earth, with his raw edge on top of the huge chorus. Chris Caffery drowns the old school conservative fans in classical ‘tage riffs only he (and his teacher, Criss Oliva,) understands how to create, proving his important role in this band. Even Jeff Plate plays around and gives the whole disc a slightly progressive touch. And Johnny Lee Middleton? Well, simply as steady as always, which can be heard in a mix that is far better than any Savatage record ever.

”Morphine Child” hits the mighty ”Chance” from ”Handful Of Rain” under the belt, being the band’s longest and most epic work until now, also proving how important Paul O’Neill is to the band. ”Awaken” is another favorite, where Oliva’s intense vocals and a cool, laid back bass groove are the main ingredients. ”Surrender” is more classic Oliva-vocal, but the main riff is a bit related to “Turns To Me” from the last CD. However, die hard Criss Oliva fans will notice that the song breaks up with a “Sirens” played on half speed. You’ll never hear another guitar player (than Chris and Criss) do something even close to this. The tapping in “Commissar” gives me chills and reminds me of one of my all time favorite tracks, “Hounds” off “Gutter Ballet”, and it sounds so right that I fight to hold back the tears…

What more can I say? Savatage is back where the band should be, with their strongest record since “Edge Of Thorns”. They seek power, and they will for sure get it…


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