I’m a rather large Savatage fan, especially the albums Hall of the Mountain King and Dead Winter Dead… But Handful of Rain has to be my favorite After the VERY unfortunate death of Criss Oliva (brother to Jon Oliva), Alex Skolnick was brought in to do the guitar work… And I must say it is amazing. It sounds just like Savatage, but you can still tell Alex’s Testament style riffing. Alex is one of my favorite guitarists of all time, so it was a treat to see that he played on this album.
The most notable tracks here are the title track “Handful of Rain” and number 4 “Stare Into The Sun”. They’re my two personal favorites anyway. Very heavy, ncie accoustic intro to the one, and you can kind of sense Alex’s jazz stylings come into play a bit (before he forms the Alex Skolnick Trio)…
But “Taunting Cobras”, “Chance”, “Castles Burning”, “Visions (Instrumental)”, and “Watching You Fall” plus “Alone You Breathe” are fantastic.
“Nothing Going On” and “Symmetry” are not bad, but they’re my two least favorite tracks from the album. Still, I listen to the whole thing every time, I never have the urge to skip tracks or anything.
Alex has some very good fills and less shredding moments than usual; but he keeps it alive and keeps the feel of this album very Savatage like. A very underrated album I feel; probably one of Savatage’s finest moments!
Still looking for the Live In Japan ‘94 album for this tour though… That would reign supreme!