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Review: Jon Oliva's Pain - 'Tage Mahal
Jon Oliva's Pain
'Tage Mahal

Label: SPV
Year released: 2004
Duration: 62:38
Tracks: 13
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: February 24, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.18/5 (83.53%) (17 Votes)

I was hoping for more from this. Pain is the latest side project from longtime Savatage founder/mainstay Jon Oliva, dubbed 'Jon Oliva's Pain' to make sure we all know who's in it, though that makes it sound like a description of his lumbar discomfort or something. "'Tage Mahal" was a name his late brother Criss was going to use for a solo album, so here it surfaces a good 12 years after his death.

There is some good stuff here, and fans of the 'Tage may find something to interest them, but there is too little cool stuff, and too much self-indulgent bullshit. Despite the presence of other musicians, all the music here was written by Jon, and it shows. On the one hand you get some decent stompers like "Gimme Some Hell" and "Pain" that sound a lot like a rockier Savatage. But on the other you get far too much crap like "Father, Son, Holy Ghost" that veers off into more bluesy rock territory that reminds me of Supertramp or something (you know, that 'Took The Long Way Home' song that gets used in movies all the time and goes on for six months.) A big disappointment are the ballads, as they really suck. Jon's voice sounds good as ever, so if you like it you won't be unhappy, and if you never liked him, you won't now. But the melodies are just limp, and it makes you really pine for the days when Jon knew how to write a really great tune. "Guardian Of Forever" and album closer "Fly Away" are just terrible, is this really the same guy who wrote "When The Crowds Are Gone" and "Chance"? How the mighty have fallen. I could take a cheap shot at Jon's inflated waistline, but fuck, I'm a lot fatter than I used to be too. No, what annoys me is the bloated and saggy songs on this CD.

Most of "'Tage Mahal" is not actively bad, and Savatage fans will find a lot of it familiar ground. But over and above this not being a terribly metal album, it just is not terribly interesting. In the end I found this album to be overblown, overworked, and rather boring.

More about Jon Oliva's Pain...
Review: 'Tage Mahal (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Festival (reviewed by Adam Kohrman)
Review: Festival (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Global Warning (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Interview with Jon Oliva on May 22, 2010 (Interviewed by Adam Kohrman)
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