Jon Oliva's Pain: Festival CD Review (AFM Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jon Oliva's Pain: Festival CD Review (AFM Records)

Jon Oliva's Pain: Festival CD Review (AFM Records)As a long-time fan of Alice Cooper’s mid-70’s work, Jon Oliva’s newest disc struck a real positive chord with me. The ten tracks on Festival balance fist-pumping rockers with power ballads and it is hard not to think of “Only Women Bleed” when listening to the ballads. Strong production pushes to the front of the mix Oliva’s growling vocals along with the multi-faceted guitar work of Matt LaPorte and Tom McDyne, whose chops range from jazz licks to progressive breaks to shredding metal.

The CD cover is a ‘carnival of the damned’ picture and horror movies themes and sound effects run throughout the disc. The disc starts off strong and opens with creepy carnival sound effects before going into the driving and angry “Lies”. The power ballads are mostly guitar driven as Oliva says that he wrote most of this disc on the guitar.

Some of the stand-out cuts include the “big sounding” rockers: "The Evil Within", "Death Rides a Black Horse" (which has some cool symphonic keyboards) and "Living on the Edge of Time" (which is likely a remake of an old Savatage song). The ballads are up-tempo somewhat proggy affairs. “Afterglow” starts as an orchestral piano ballad before launching a metal attack and backs out of this mid-way for a jazz break, “Winter Haven” is a mellow, symphonic prog-rock tune and the contemplative “Now” ends the disc.

This disc clocks in at just under an hour and, while many of the above-mentioned musical themes are repeated across the different songs, this is a pleasant trip down a familiar road.

The band filmed a live DVD on their recent March/April European tour consisting of music from the four Jon Oliva's Pain CDs and a healthy dose of Savatage classics.

Commented Oliva: "This DVD is going to kick ass, and [it's] something that I have been looking forward to for many, many years. With the release of our new album in February and the vast back catalog of SAVATAGE material, we will have plenty of material to fill a two-plus-hour show... The band is great form and my voice is so ready for this. We're going to capture a great show with all the pyro, bells and whistles we can put on stage... and, of course, we will need all of you there to make it an over-the-top success."

Jon Oliva's Pain