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.