Jon Oliva's Pain - Festival review


64 users:
Band: Jon Oliva's Pain
Album: Festival
Release date: February 2010

01. Lies
02. Death Rides A Black Horse
03. Festival
04. Afterglow
05. Living On The Edge
06. Looking For Nothing
07. The Evil Within
08. Winter Haven
09. I Fear You
10. Now

Jon Oliva has released his fourth solo album in early 2010 known as Festival. I will admit, I am a massive fan of his works and have been for quite a long time. All of the songwriting he did for Savatage is absolute gold and his vocals are sensational as well. Even Trans-Siberian Orchestra is a brilliant band which Jon had helped found. In his solo work he has attempted to create a new sound without losing that Savatage quality which has made him famous. In this new album, he moved further away from that sound as he focused much less on the piano and more on keyboards. The whole sound is also much heavier and darker which is unique to any album he has ever done before.

Festival starts out with four songs which happen to be some of the best on the entire album. "Death Rides a Black Horse" especially is a very inspired and original song opening with a chilling riff that sets the stage for its dark lyrics. The title track as well is a solid piece besides the opening which is practically cut and paste from Queen's masterpiece "Brighton Rock." How such an accomplished musician would somehow miss that is beyond me. "Afterglow" is the most progressive song on the album and he brings back the piano for it. Its sound seems like a beautiful mix of Savatage's classics Edge of Thorns and Streets.

Now, in Jon Oliva's defense, I've never been such a big fan of re-recorded songs. So when "Living on the Edge" played I wanted to completely dismiss the song altogether. For those who don't know, this song appeared as a bonus on Savatage's Dungeons are Calling. After a few plays, I've started to enjoy it more and realized that the lyrics are actually a lot more polished this time around. The new verse's are also quite enjoyable, however, the chorus completely destroys the song. What once had heart pounding vocals with Jon screaming at the top of his lungs has now been replaced by those bland and boring backing vocals that seem to plague all of his new albums.

The rest of the album drops in tempo and turns into a slower pace as in the last 5 songs, 2 of them are ballads and another one take quite awhile to get started. That song is "Winter Haven" and it sticks out as the most complex song on the album which has a very soft opening but ends up as a heavy rocker. It's obvious that Jon hasn't lost his touch for creating great progressive music and this album is no different. While he takes quite a lot from his earlier works on many of the tracks and it's not nearly as original as those albums, it is still a great listen from the mountain king!

Best Songs: "Lies," "Death Rides a Black Horse," "The Evil Within"

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Written by WorpeX | 16.12.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Hits total: 2851 | This month: 28