Savatage - Gutter Ballet review
|Release date:||December 1989|
01. Of Rage And War
02. Gutter Ballet
03. Temptation Revelation
04. When The Crowds Are Gone
05. Silk And Steel
06. She's In Love
08. The Unholy
09. Mentally Yours
10. Summer's Rain
11. Thorazine Shuffle
12. All That I Bleed [Piano version] [1997 Edel Music CD reissue bonus]
13. Hounds [Live at Lamour, Brooklyn] [2002 SPV CD reissue bonus]
14. When The Crowds Are Gone [Live at Hollywood Palace] [2002 SPV CD reissue bonus]
15. Alone You Breathe [Acoustic version] [2011 EarMusic CD reissue bonus]
16. Handful Of Rain [Acoustic version] [2011 EarMusic CD reissue bonus]
Album number five for Savatage witnessed a change of direction and a good bit of experimenting with new sounds. Not surprising, considering that with the much-lauded Hall Of The Mountain King they had taken their old sound as far as they could, and it was innovate or stagnate. With Gutter Ballet they tried something new.
If you are more familiar with Savatage's more recent concept albums all following interesting story lines, I think it is important to note that Gutter Ballet is not a concept album. Still, the ending trilogy consisting of ''Mentally Yours'', ''Summer's Rain'' and ''Thorazine Shuffle'' has strong lyrical bounds. All of them were written when vocalist Jon Oliva came out of alcohol and drug rehab. Gutter Ballet is a transition album from Savatage's old heavy metal roots to the more prog-driven new sound incorporating keyboards and pianos in their music. Pianos would eventually become indispensable elements to their songwriting. On this album they used it mainly in the title track, the amazing ballad ''When The Crowds Are Gone'', the beautiful instrumental ''Temptation Revelation'', and some others. The only song I don't like as much as the rest is ''She's In Love''. Actually it's got a very good groove but I think its lyrics somewhat pale in comparison with the solid statements offered by the other tunes. Jon Oliva's voice may need a little time to grow on you, especially compared to Zak Stevens', but no one can touch Jon on pure raw emotion.
In the future Savatage would delve even more fully into progressive/orchestral music, but this is where it started. Gutter Ballet is a bit uneven in places, and some of the more straight-up tracks are only so-so, but the good stuff here is very, very good. This one is a piece of metal history, and a genuine classic. You should have it.
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