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Savatage - "Dungeons Are Calling (Silver Anniversary Collections Edition)"
Metal Blade Records 2002

This is yet another classic recording by American Metal powerhouse Savatage. I am a bit sick of all this new Power Metal bands, which are supposed to be good, but they are more or less boring and silly. The good old Savatage are more than a great refresh, especially such great classic as "Dungeons Are Calling", in a new or old look - it is not important, because Savas are by any meaning an immortal band, thanks to their legendary guitarist Criss Oliva, who was capable of doing amazing things on his guitar during his short life. On this album his work came to a higher point, even more close to the late eighties Savatage.

Everything is in their best fashion as only Savatage can do - very groovy sound (ex-bass guitarist Collins did a good job), Criss' riffing is now even more recognizable than before, sure there is also Jon's maniacal but so unique vocal that fits so great with their music. Keyboards are more or less dated now, but they were excellent in their time. It is weird but also fun in a way to hear the lack in this musical element. Without good keys I cannot imagine them nowadays. There are two great songs that represent Savas at their best: "The Dungeons Are Calling" and "City Beneath The Surface", long time classics in their live shows. There are exactly three new songs and that is good, because without them there would be only six songs. They are not anything amazing but they are all suitable to entire atmosphere of the recording.

Hidden bonus track is not worth of any words. It is nothing but some sort of joking in Oliva bros scenario. If you have a strange sense of humor then check it out, otherwise stay satisfied with a great feeling after the ninth song. I would be more satisfied if they put on one of their live tracks.

If you want to know more of the band's history than you should also check the booklet, which is full of information. It was written by ex-drummer Steve Wacholz, who was the last original member of the band before Criss died. Only Mountain king Jon Oliva, who still carries the band to it's bright future knows more about all the happenings from their jurassic period. I think that their first name Avatar was also cool but it was then used by many other bands. So, what exactly means their name - Savatage? It is nothing but a unity of two names for the band. Avatar was one of them, the other one was Savage.

This album is as good as their first release, "Sirens", if not even better. I think there is a step forward, because they are even heavier than before. Savas yet again proves where are the roots of classical American Metal and also Thrash and Power Metal.

Author:   Peter

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