This is considered Savatage’s ‘breakthrough’ LP. I have no doubt that this reached a larger audience, but not because of any weekness in the songs. When I first heard this (back when there were no CD’s and just LP’s and tapes!) I was floored. Jon Oliva’s vocals defintely stand out in a big way on this effort. His brother, Criss Oliva also put his own feel in the guitars. This album has a certain sound to it that no other Savatage album has. It sends chills up your spine and has you singing along to classics like, Beyond The Doors of The Dark, White Witch, Legions, Devastation, and the centerpiece of the LP: Hall of The Mountain King, whose intro is from classical music, that being from the composer Grieg, and his Peer Gynt Suite. This album delivers a solid 150% of energy and soaring melody. I doubt there is ANY Savatage fan who doesn’t love this one. If you like any of the releases with Jon OLiva on vocals, and don’t have this yet: GET IT!! And play it loud!
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
At the time I got HOTMK (1988)Savatage was not my favorite band they weren’t even close, but after HOTMK they started to climb the ladder of my taste. This Cd summs great heavy metal, a superb guitar work the insane voice of John Oliva and the mix of classical elements that make this album unique. You can cranck it and headbang to it or you can sit and enjoy the classical parts. 24 Hours Ago: Good opening for this record 8 Beyond the doors of the dark: Starts slow and becomes one of the heaviest tunes 9 Legions: All great heavy metal from start to end. Must be great to hear live 9 Strange wings: commercial attempt 7 Prelude to Madness: Superb Instrumental mixing classical elements 9 Hall of the mountain king: Has it all guitars, screams, classical arrangements 9.5 The price you pay: Hold on to your hat on this one (or it will blow it) 9.5 White Witch: great music great lyrics about cocaine 9 Last Dawn: Short and moody Instrumental 8 Devastation: About the end of the world makes you wanna jump 10In all this is a great album for any one into Heavy Metal or Power Metal
Savatge were the band that started out as metal (like this album), became more progressive (like Gutter Ballet), and then eventually evolved into the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This album is a metal must-have. Jon Oliva is such a strong vocalist. The song “Hall Of The Mountain King” is one of the greatest metal songs ever. Fans of 80s New Wave Of British Heavy Metal will enjoy.
Bought this on spec for Hall of the Mountain King after Accept’s guitarist Wolf Hoffman did a version of it (which I think is better because it’s purer, but Savatage’s extension is brilliant none-the-less). First listening was: ho-hum, second listening was: this ain’t half bad, third listening: jammed in the CD player! This is a great metal CD – the vocals are wierd, but addictive and what a sensational range; the guitars (and vocals) remind me a bit of Accept (albeit a more learned version, more sophisticated maybe?) and a bit of a whole lot of other metal that I can’t quite put my finger on, maybe even some thrash creeping in? This is seriously good metal, good riffs, power and grind. Turn it up LOUD!
If Savatage felt that they had something to prove after the lackluster 1986 album Fight for the Rock, they certainly achieved that goal with 1987’s triumphant Hall of the Mountain King.
With Hall of the Mountain King, Savatage unleashes a power metal assault that picks up right where Power of the Night left off, allowing fans to forget about the corporate rock experiment that was Fight for the Rock. Hall of the Mountain King is pure metal from start to finish, and is as powerful an album as Savatage has released. Standout tracks? Try all of them. Seriously, if you like the early Savatage sound, Hall of the Mountain King is the best of that era.
Hall of the Mountain King is also noteworthy because it marks the first Savatage album with producer Paul O’Neill at the helm. Beginning with follow-up album Gutter Ballet, the O’Neill/Oliva team would go on to totally redevelop Savatage’s sound, and would pave the way for the smash hit Trans-Siberian Orchestra. You get a little preview of what is to come in the instrumental track Prelude to Madness.
NOTE: While the standard version of Hall of the Mountain King is a bargain, you may want to spend a few more dollars on the German import reissue by SPV. It hasn’t been remastered, but the 2002 SPV reissue does have a few extras that make it a better buy. It features 2 additional tracks – live versions of Hall of the Mountain King and Devastation, but the real bonus is that the liner notes have been expanded to include several pages of very detailed information about the band during this particular stage of their career. When added to the chapters from the other SPV Savatage reissues, you’ll get the real story behind one of the best (and most underrated) metal bands of all time.