Raise The Curtain (digipak)
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Raise the Curtain
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JON OLIVA'S PAIN and SAVATAGE mastermind Jon Oliva has completed recording his first-ever solo album. The CD, which contains ideas collected over the course of the last four or five years and also compositions by Jon`s brother Criss (Savatage), was tracked in winter 2012 at Morrisound Studios in Tampa, Florida with producer Tom Morris. Jon handled laying down nearly all the instrument tracks and vocals himself as well as playing drums on three songs. Oliva stated about his decision to record a solo album: `I've got some weird ideas that I wanna try and I've got some time to do it. I don't want do just 'another' JON OLIVA'S PAIN record. I've done four of those already. I wanna do something different. I have some material that I've wanted to put out for a while...`
Top customer reviews
I'm not going to do a track-by-track rundown other than to say that there's not a dull song on the album. My two personal favorites are "I Know," which is a dark morose track, and "Can't Get Away," which is the opposite--upbeat, bluesy, groovy. Jon Oliva is a musician with one hell of a resume and he can seemingly do any style of music and do it well. If Raise the Curtain is any indication, let's hope that Jon does more solo work in the future. This is a gem from a real musical talent.
This disc, though, ostensibly Jon Oliva left to his own devices, raises the bar. The production, the songwriting, the musicianship, from top to bottom is top notch. The Oliva screams are there, the guitar playing is well above average and in a great many spots I daresay that Criss would be smiling at his brother's work and how well done it is.
I can't say enough really. Surprised? To be sure, a little bit. Happy? For Jon, yes. Yes, indeed.
Well worth the investment to buy this album.
Opening track Raise the Curtain is fairly repetitive and aimed more at being an introduction to the album rather than a stand alone track in its own right. The rest of the tunes run the gamut from the sort of sentimentality that we’ve seen from Oliva before, one example being Soldier. Others are more full bodied and include a horn section and chunks of piano, an example of this being the rather eclectic The Witch. For all its horn section the vocals of Oliva remind the listener of some of his more visceral performances back in those halcyon Savatage days. This sort of sneering vocal delivery is also used a on a few other numbers too.
Main personnel here are Jon Oliva himself doing all the guitars, Christopher Kinder on percussion and Dan Fasciano tinkling the ivories. In fact Fasciano gets a range of writing credits on the album. Production values are … well you don’t really notice them. The songs certainly do breath a bit however which is as you’d expect given some the lighter tunes here and the ballad style material. Oliva and Tom Morris did the production and Morris also appears to have done the bulk of the engineering.
All up if you are a fan of Oliva and his work then you really want to pick this up. It collects what he states is the last music penned by Chris Oliva and is eclectic enough to be interesting even if it isn’t a full on faucet album. About the only quibble I’d have with it would be that this eclecticism does threaten to prevent a couple of the tracks from being linear enough to be the best they could have been, Oliva seemingly enjoying the idea of operating in a mini-suite style that is fine on an epic metal album but not such a sure fire idea on some the tracks here. And how do they get away with calling this his first solo album? What, because the other ones were done under the moniker of Jon Olivas Pain? Meh, whatever. But still this is a good pick up.
While he may not be able to hit quite as many high notes as he did during his prime years with Savatage, he is still an amazing singer and songwriter. I had the honor of seeing him and meeting him for this tour at a small venue in St. Petersburg, FL in Dec 2013 and it was an awe-inspiring show. Jon still has the passion and signature piano playing that propelled him to the history books of progressive rock.
Give this a spin and you won't be disappointed!