December 1, 1989 - 2019: 30 years of: Gutter Ballet.
A mix of raw power and heavenly melodic-rock, infused by progressive symphonies, performed in a heavy theatrical-rock set ...guess the band ?
KING DIAMOND, no
...the iconic SAVATAGE is the answer !
1989 is the creative pinnacle for hardrock and thrashmetal, yet the Floridian-boys strayed far away from both scenes, crafting and perfecting a unique sound of their own.
While 1987's Hall Of The Mountain King is the first awakening of the SAVATAGE signature-sound, it is also the first of many LPs to feature producer/writer/fifth member/visionary Paul O'Neill. This union would catapult the band into rock-stardom with their 8-album collaboration and later furthermore with the multi-Platinum selling heavyweight supergroup TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA.
Rock-fighters of the night, SAVATAGE now features exquisite piano and rich progressive melodies, all of these where fully bloomed on the mature 1989's tour-de-force rock masterpiece: Gutter Ballet.
The album's opener "Of Rage And War" is just that, a blazing heavymetal track that bites down hard. The instrumental "Temptation Revelation" interlude showcases top quality musicianship by guitarist Criss Oliva and eerie atmospheric keyboard landscapes ...and now the tearful "When The Crowds Are Gone" should've been a Top 40FM hit ...as this one is a MEAT LOAF-type emotion-filled power-rock mid-paced number. Balls-to-the-wall riffing kicks hard on "She's In love", another old-school metal-cut that leaves us all in awe while "The Unholy" wipes the floor with some more slick metal-riffs.
And now ...the pièce-de-résistance:
Epicness takes a stand on top of the hardrock-Everest and reaches biblical proportions on the glorious show-stopper "Gutter Ballet". Directly inspired by the 1986 blockbuster musical "The Phantom Of The Opera", "Gutter Ballet" is hardrock's strongest powerballad ever to be written and performed. The grandiose piece starts-off with a 1:23sec silky piano-intro and then all hells breaks loose. Fist-pumping heavymetal rhythms in a monumental start-stop riff and Jon Oliva's angelic/demonic voice. The progressive guitars builds-up to the ultimate metal-climax as the lead-guitar machine-guns away at the 3:54sec mark.
Magic and majestic ...a heavymetal "Bohemian Rhapsody", pure symphonic operatic heavyness, geniusly wrapped in piano and string orchestration. One of the greatest heavymetal powerballads ever ...simply: un-touch-a-ble ! There was nothing like it before and nothing like it ever since.
For your ecstatic pleasure, please review the following material: Gutter Ballet, the music-video.
While the metal-world wasn't ready for intricate melodicrock in 1989, Gutter Ballet left a massive foot-print into the rock/metal saturated-market of the era ...a decade before Europeans took over and re-electrified the genre with acts like RHAPSODY, SONATA ARTICA and NIGHTWISH.
Since 2002 SAVATAGE are currently on hiatus, yet their legacy remains unmatched, has throughout the 90s they became a farm for rock/metal key-players (Zak Stevens, Al Pitrelli, Chris Caffery, Jack Frost and Alex Skolnick) as well as a purveyor of fine top-class US melodic/powermetal.
RIP Christopher Michael Oliva (1963-1993)
RIP Paul O'Neill (1956-2017)
When The Crowds Are Gone - video
Interview at MuchMusic in 1990
Live in 1990
Gutter Ballet live by TSO in 2014
October 4, 1991 - 2021: 30 years of: Streets: A Rock Opera.
Leave the hall, thru the gutter and you'll end up on the streets.
While 1991 shall be remembered in the history-books as a crossroad of heavymetal downfall and alternative revolution. It should also be noted that SAVATAGE held the melodic-rock fort, standing strong and tall, even throughout the turbulent hip-90s.
Epic intro-entrance of the massive "Streets" title-cut, is where all of the elements of metal and classicrock clashes into a beautiful supernova ala "24 Hrs Ago". Followed by the holy-rockin' "Jesus Saves" where we learn a little bit more about the record's main-character: D.T. Jesus.
The concept-album's story-line continues on the mid-paced "Tonight He Grins Again" and the crunchy-madness of "Can You Hear Me Now". Diametrically, piano-driven ballads like "A Little Too Far" and the even more epic "St. Patrick's" paints a different mood.
More head-banging rockers sets the stage afire with "You're Alive" + "Sammy And Tex", the riff-raff of "Agony And Ecstasy" and then with the build-up of the monumental "New York City Don't Mean Nothing".
The finally released 2013 fully narrated CD-version, displays a different angle on this rock-adventure, AKA the complete-story. Co-written with genius producer Paul O'Neill, with a Broadway play in mind, these extra interlude-segments have been kept under wraps for 20+ years.
Out of the gutter and left into the chaotic trash-littered inner-city streets, this seventh record is yet still somewhat ignored by mainstream-metal, way out of the limelights of commercial L.A.-rock. Written by poets and madmen, Streets is a challenging testament to SAVATAGE's superior musicianship.
Later, singer Jon Oliva would take a back-seat as the dungeons where calling and welcomes new frontman Zak Stevens, on the melodic 1993 Edge Of Thorns CD.
De-Tox welcomes you downtown.
Jesus Saves = video
Streets: A Rock Opera = full CD
Interview in 1991
Live in Holland in 1991
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