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Review: Oliva - Raise the Curtain
Raise the Curtain

Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2013
Duration: 53:56
Tracks: 11
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: August 3, 2013
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Raise the Curtain

Rated 3.83/5 (76.67%) (12 Votes)

It is a bit strange to think that Savatage founder Jon Oliva has been cranking out Heavy Metal for over 30 years and 2013's Raise the Curtain is his first true solo record. But whether it was with Savatage, Doctor Butcher, Jon Oliva's Pain or Circle II Circle, Jon has always had a knack for writing excellent songs and it is no different with Raise the Curtain.

The album opens, strangely enough, with the jazzy, almost carnival-like title track, which sounds a lot like Emerson, Lake and Palmer or very early Styx, with its interwoven guitar and keyboards and harmonized vocals. Fear not, Raise the Curtain soon settles into familiar territory and Jon touches on a wide swath of the Savatage catalog. There's the pop sensibilities of Fight for the Rock that can be heard on "Can't Get Away" and the big, loud and brash chorus of "Soul Chaser" that might not be so out of place on Hall of the Mountain King. Oliva is able to weave non-traditional instruments into his Heavy Metal like the horn section on "Ten Years," a Cajun-flavored tune that would be at home on Gutter Ballet. "I Know" is a soulful ballad while "Soldier" is a simple, heartfelt ode to military personnel (Streets: A Rock Opera and Dead Winter Dead, for those keeping score). You can even hear shades of the early days of Savatage on "The Witch," a song that proves Oliva has retained not only his songwriting skills but also the unique and powerful voice that characterized Sirens and Power of the Night. This all makes sense when you consider many of the songs were co-written with the late Criss Oliva before he was tragically killed in 1993.

The bottom line is this; if you are a fan of Savatage, Raise the Curtain is sure to please and you should scoop it up forthwith. It might as well be called a Savatage release but whatever the name, the music within is top notch.

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