JON OLIVA’S PAIN – Maniacal Renderings

JON OLIVA'S PAIN - Maniacal Renderings


Release date: April 9, 2006

User Review
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‘Tage Mahal, the debut solo album of Savatage mastermind and grandfather of Heavy Metal, Jon Oliva, showed that there was still some sparks of genius left in the old man. Tracks like “The Dark,” “People Say – Gimme Some Hell,” and “All The Time” could easily make a Savatage/Oliva top 30 (top 30 seems like a lot, but then it’s not your average demo band you’re dealing with here …). Maniacal Renderings shows Oliva taking the best aspects from ‘Tage Mahal and developing them further, as well as paying respect to his former (?) band by bringing in several elements from the Savatage heydays. Oliva’s “Pain” is strengthened by guitarist Shane French, who also played on the band’s Straight-Jacket Memoires EP, released earlier this year. Otherwise it’s still Matt LaPorte on guitars, Kevin Rothney on bass, Chris Kinder on drums, and John Zahner on keyboards in addition to The Mountain King himself.

The experienced Savatage fan would only need to hear a minute of the album opener, “Through The Eyes Of The King,” to hear which king this track’s dealing with -– yep, this is the sequel to the Savatage classic “Hall Of The Mountain King.” The song has got a new riff, which is absolutely brilliant, by the way –- but the chorus and Oliva’s vocals throughout shows strong references to the original track. If you did wonder, the track’s freakin’ fantastic.

That also goes for the two following tracks. First off is the title track with its fantastic groove and amazing, timeless melody, and then the majestic “The Evil Beside You,” which clearly shows Oliva’s Lennon/McCartney roots. Actually, there’s really no need to review this album track-by-track –- most reviewers would probably run out of superlatives half-way through. Oliva has, as mentioned, taken the symphonic elements of his debut solo album, combined with classic Savatage riffing, and Streets-era epics (check out “The Answer” –- the perfect sequel to “Believe,” “When The Crowds Are Gone,” and “Alone You Breathe”) and the result is a truly fantastic CD.

It must be noted that Oliva does not pull this off alone. The other band members sound far more relaxed on Maniacal Renderings than on Tage Mahal, and especially guitarists LaPorte and French lay down some very cool stuff. This is particularly evident on the more up-tempo tracks -– “Through The Eyes Of The King,” “Push It To The Limit,” and “Time To Die,” for example.
Maniacal Renderings is a serious contender for album of the year 2006…


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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