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Edge of Thorns

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(50 Reviews)

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  • This album is something special. Most of you know that this was Criss Oliva’s last album before he died in a terrible car crash. He shines throughout the entire album. This was supposed to be an album to show off Oliva’s considerable skill, but that does not mean that any of the other band members or song writers hold back. Zak Stevens has been brought on as the lead vocalist, and while I love Jon Oliva’s vocals, Zak takes the Savatage sound to a whole different level. An earlier reviewer described Zak as a poor man’s Sebastian Bach, but that is far from true. He is more accurately described as a mix of the best parts of Geoff Tate and James Hetfield, but even that doesn’t do him justice. This man has incredible range and adds to each song almost as much as Criss does.
    Speaking of the songs they are incredibly well written, with thought provoking lyrics for all of them; no filler in sight. “Edge of Thorns” has to be one of the greatest songs that Savatage has ever done, with great piano mixed in with the guitar and an extended solo by Criss; Zak is amazing too. The next three tracks aren’t as first-rate but are still really good; “Skraggy’s Tomb” is a thought-provoking song about alcoholism. “Labyrinths” serves as an excellent intro for “Follow Me.” This is also a pretty powerful song, again with great vocals and stunning guitar by Criss. The lyrics are debated but I see them about a person who joins a cult, never seeing the folly of his decision. “Degrees of Sanity” (very) successfully incorperates a sitar into the song, adding even more depth to Savatage’s sound, you have to hear it to understand how magnificent this song is. “Conversation Piece” is about self-mutilation, with a pounding riff. “All That I Bleed” is a slow, forgettable ballad and “Damien” is good, but is nowhere near the level of the previously mentioned tracks. “Miles Away” left me confused after I heard it. It is a really good song, but is somewhat hard to describe. The closest that I can get is a mix of a power ballad with hard rock, similar to Ozzy Osbourne’s A.V.H. (another great song). It is still an unforgettable song. The album closes with the acoustic ballad “Sleep,” a nice ending to a great album.
    Maybe I should take back what I said before about this being a “great” album, it is near perfection. This is one of the few albums where it is impossible for me to understand how anyone can not give this five stars. It is melodic, hard rock with amazing guitar work, but also has piano incorperated to add depth to the songs, you must hear it to believe it. It can be appreciated for just the music, perfect for after a hard day and you need to relax without thinking. Yet, it can also be respected because it is so deep, not in a bad way, but because the lyrics are so great, and it’s only $9.98, you can’t go wrong! As is the case with “Streets,” it is a shame that so few people will enjoy that feeling of ecstasy and satisfaction that comes after listening to this album. I’m babbling so I will end in saying this: do yourself a favor and pick this up, you will not regret it.

    Posted on January 14, 2010