Album Reviews

Jon Oliva’s Pain – Festival

Released By AFM Records – 2010

Review Added March 19, 2010

Released: February 19th, 2010
Genre: Heavy Metal/Symphonic/Progressive Metal

1. Lies**
2. Death Rides A Black Horse**
3. Festival
4. Afterglow
5. Livin’ On The Edge**
6. Looking For Nothing
7. The Evil Within
8. Winter Haven
9. I Fear You
10. Now**
Hot Tracks**

Jon Oliva: Vocals/Keyboards
Matt LaPorte: Guitar
Tom McDyne: Guitar
Kevin Rothney: Bass
John Zahner: Keyboards
Chris Kinder: Drums

Legendary vocalist Jon Oliva of Savatage fame has been around a long time by metal standards, the beginning of Savatage and the turbulence road and personal battles that the band had endured during tough times could of been enough for any regular person to just quit and stop playing music all together. In Jon Oliva’s case, he has continue to produce his staple theatrical metal with his own band “Jon Oliva’s Pain”. This is the band’s 4th studio album release and once again Jon lends a hand from fellow Circle II Circle guitarists Matt Laporte, bassists Kevin Rothney and Drummer Christopher Kinder. Having been a fan of the first two Jon Oliva’s Pain releases, Taj Mahal and Maniacal Renderings, I always look forward to listening to Oliva’s charismatic and heart wrenching gutty vocals, as he still sounds as good as ever.

Opening this dark journey is the track “Lies” while not breaking any new ground here, it features another strong vocal spot from Oliva and company as he wails and grunts out in pain to suck the listener in. Although the chorus line in “Death Rides a Black Horse” sounds repetitive at times, the sound is still pretty decent albeit a little too long for my own liking. The song “Afterglow” while bombastic and epic in it’s own right, sounds a little too confusing and distorted at times. A more pleasing gem comes your way in “Living On The Edge” with a cool chorus and some sharp duo guitar attack from name and name. If you know anything about the former Savatage front man, you know that there has never been a power ballad quite like a Jon Oliva power ballad, always known for his passionate and raspy vocals, we hear a smoother and softer Oliva in “Looking For Nothing”, with a more traditional southern comfort style of song structure.

In the end I was really left with a uneven and incomplete feeling, Festival is certainly a mix bag of sounds, yes some does hold true to some old Savatage and newer Jon Oliva’s Pain material, but in the end it doesn’t hold up very well to previous JOP’s work. I thought some of the memorable choruses we’re missing in action here. The musicianship is always top notch and Jon’s voice can’t do any wrong, but overall I felt with a uneasy feeling and a longing for Savatage to reunite and kick ass as we all know they can. I know I echo some of the fans sentiments here as the topic has been a hot discussion point for many years, but Oliva has continue with his own work and Chris Caffery with his own solo material and Zach Stevens in Circle II Circle. In the end I would hope for a Savatage reunion, is long overdue and the prospect of some new material would please every fan out there.

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys  7/10

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