Oliva - Raise The Curtain

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Legendary Savatage front-man Jon Oliva has been in music for 35 years, and is only now releasing his first ever solo album after spending his career so far in one or more of Savatage, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Jon Oliva's Pain. Only enlisting the help of JOP drummer Christopher Kinder, long-time friend Dan Fasciano on keyboards/piano, and producer Jim Morris for guitar solos, Jon played as much of the music on Raise The Curtain as he could himself, writing exclusively with Fasciano to join his unfinished ideas, with his own, deemed unsuitable for a JOP record, aiming to unite Jon's love of 1970s progressive rock with the symphonic metal he pioneered with Savatage. Raise The Curtain signals another major point in Oliva's career as well; it's the last time he'll be using left over music recorded by his brother and original Savatage guitarist Criss, who died in 1993. Music written and/or recorded by Criss discovered in a box of tapes in 2005 has been used on the last three JOP albums, so in the 20th anniversary year of his death, it seems very fitting for the last of his music to make it to release. The expectation with this album was that it would be too far removed from Oliva's usual output to appeal to some of his fans, even he himself thought that would be the case, and in a sense, Raise The Curtain is Jon Oliva doing prog rock, so that could turn out to be true, but there are more than enough of his usual vocal acrobatics and grandiose passages to please his existing fans. Some tracks are in fact very typical of Oliva's style, like Soul Chaser, Ten Years, Armageddon, Big Brother, and Stalker, which are all lead by big grooves and Jon's trademark emotive singing, but these often end up laced with Jon Lord-esque keyboards and clean, expressive guitar lines almost as much as things like Tull-ish ballad Soldier, gentle bonus track The Truth (which sounds like Arjen Lucassen's aping of '70s prog), and the majestic I Know, which encompasses much of what this album does in a single track. His fans should have no worries about the new material, this album is a masterpiece, threading various styles together with a unifying sound that could only be Jon Oliva.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2013, Albums, Hard/Heavy Rock, Progressive, Quick.Play Reviews, ,

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