Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Poets & Madmen
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
Eagerly anticipated new album combines the classic sound of earlier albums like Sirens, Hall Of The Mountain King and the EP Dungeons Are Calling, while remaining faithful to the orchestral direction of more recent releas... more »
Eagerly anticipated new album combines the classic sound of earlier albums like Sirens, Hall Of The Mountain King and the EP Dungeons Are Calling, while remaining faithful to the orchestral direction of more recent releases, Gutter Ballet and Dead Winter Dead, which they owe to a large extent to returning producer Paul O'Neill (Aerosmith). Featuring guitarist Al Pitrelli and founding member Jon Oliva. Poets & Madmen is a concept album which follows three kids who unwittingly break into a closed-down psychiatric hospitalwhere they discover a cabinet with old patients' files. 12 tracks. 2001 release.
Actually, It's Not That Bad
Mike | Maryland | 08/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The many bad reviews on this site made me not want to buy this album at all. Only seeing it used on Amazon, and reading several other really good reviews convinced me to order this. At first I wasn't impressed, but then, it blew me away. Actually every Savatage album since Gutter Ballet, except Handful of Rain, has blown me away (Handful of Rain was good, don't get me wrong, it just didn't have as big of an effect on me). Jon Oliva is back on vocals, and he does a pretty good job. He uses only a growl; no high screams of the earlier albums. While he sounds pretty good, there are some parts that really make me miss Zak Stevens, and Oliva sounds strained in some parts. Al Pitrelli is gone at this point to Megadeth, although he plays some guitar solos (for a full list of solos Pitrelli did on the album, check out the FAQ on Savatage's website), Chris Caffery takes over in the writing process, cowriting nine of the songs. For the solos, Caffery uses Al Pitrelli's Les Paul, so there's only a subtle difference in the playing. This is a concept album, although much more loosely based on the story in the liner notes than Savatage's previous two albums.
1. Stay With Me Awhile 9/10- Good song to kick off the album. I love that guitar interlude in the middle.
2. There in the Silence 9.5/10- Starts off with an eerie synth melody. Probably has Caffery's best guitar work of the whole album even though it doesn't have a solo per say; there are a number of parts with no singing that Caffery fills with incredible and catchy, crunchy guitar riffs and runs.
3. Commissar 10/10- Starts out with trademark piano licks but is really unlike anything Savatage has done before. Features IMO the only successful usage of Oliva's rap-singing and a 3 (!) part guitar solo in the end. For those who are curious it goes Pitrelli/Caffery/Pitrelli.
4. I Seek Power 9.5/10- I love the harmonic guitar leads in the verses, but Oliva sounds strained in the chorus. The guitar solo starts out great but is too short.
5. Drive 5/10- Unlike anything Savatage has done before, but this experiment was a partial failure. Not really bad, just not that good.
6. Morphine Child 10/10- Progressive metal fans will love this 10:00+ song. Great intro and riff as well as a fantastic solo in the middle. Savatage uses the layered vocals similar to Zak Stevens only instead of Stevens they use a choir made of the entire band, Paul O'Neill, and a couple of others that I can't remember.
7. Rumor 10/10- Another song that is like nothing I have heard Savatage do before. It is half acoustic guitar based folk and half heavy metal. Pitrelli does the solo and leads in this one, but Caffery is the star once again with a several great riffs. The lyrics here are the best I've heard from Savatage since "St. Patrick's."
8. Man In The Mirror 10/10- Oliva sounds great here during the quieter parts, he's actually singing instead of yelling. The lyrics fall prey to some cliches, but for the most part, this is a great song.
9. Surrender 8/10- Good guitar work in the first part, but the ending is what hurts this song, especially with the piano-saturated part where Oliva repeats "See the show!"
10. Awaken 5/10- Weakest song on the album, comes close to filler.
11. Back To Reason 7/10- Decent song, but I was hoping Savatage had finally ditched their ending ballad formula after I heard "Hourglass," but I was wrong. If you like Savatage's earlier ballads (Alone You Breathe, Believe), you'll love this one.
12. Shotgun Innocence 7.5/10- Decent song from the Edge of Thorns era, with Chris Oliva on guitar and Zak Stevens on vocals. If you like nostalgia, you'll love this song just for the fact that it has those previous two people playing, although the song itself isn't anything great.
I'm tired of bands that were popular in the 20th Century releasing albums in the 21st Century saying that it's a "back to the roots" album, especially when its not. This is not "back to the roots." It's heavier and more riff-based, but it's closer to "Wake of Magellan" than "Hall of the Mountain King."
Contrary to what many people say, this is one of Savatage's better albums. It is more consistant than "Wake of Magellan" and has more lasting power than "Dead Winter Dead." I can't say that this is their best ever, although I'm not 100% sure why. Zak's departure has a part in that, plus there's a noticable lack in extended solos, and Al Pitrelli IMO is a critical aspect of the band's sound, his guitar has the best sound of any guitarist in the history of rock/metal (except maybe Slash). Still, if you can find it, this is a great album. Highly Recommended.
P.S. Chris Caffery is more talented than you might have originally thought. His work here shows it, but also look to his solo album and his stunning work with Doctor Butcher."