US prog metal band Savatage were previously known as "Metropolis" and then "Avatar", being formed by the Oliva brothers, Criss on guitar and Jon on vocals, in 1983. Early albums showed a distinct Iron Maiden / Judas Priest influence, but they soon developed their own unique style, releasing a number of excellent conceptual albums. They've grown to become one of prog metal's best ever bands, drawing big crowds, especially in Germany and Japan. Tragedy struck in 1993 when Criss Oliva was killed in a car crash near his home in Florida.

SAVATAGE
The song played was Turns to me from the album The wake of Magellan released in 1997. Savatage formed in Florida in 1978 as Avatar, led by brothers Jon (vocals) and Criss (guitar) Oliva. They changed their name to Savatage in 1983, pursuing a strongly Judas Priest- and Iron Maiden-influenced style of metal. Their other members included Steve "Doc" Wacholz (drums) and Keith Collins (bass), who was later replaced by Johnny Lee Middleton. They meandered between basic metal and more commercial fare before adding second guitarist Chris Caffery and hitting their stride in 1990 with Gutter Ballet. The band showed a flair for intense, melodic hard rock, dramatic balladry, and elaborate, operatic concepts, which they pursued over their next few albums. Criss Oliva was killed in an auto accident in 1993; he was replaced by former Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick, but the new lineup was ill-received. Over fifteen years into their career, Savatage refuses to stay still -- if anything, the group has continued to improve in the '90s, as their 14th album, The Wake of Magellan, proves. Long ago, the group began fusing heavy metal with progressive rock, but they've rarely recorded a concept album as enthralling as The Wake of Magellan. They start their world tour next year and if you want to see them in South Africa you can send a request to Leon and Phil. Visit their website.

Savatage 
Savatage - Legions, from "Hall of the Mountain King", in 1987, their 5th album. Probably one of the best progressive/metal outfits to come out of the USA in years, Savatage have been around since the early 80's when they evolved out of Metropolis and Avatar. They were formed by the Oliva brothers, Criss on guitars and Jon on vocals and keyboards. The other members were Steve Wacholz on drums and Keith Collins, later replaced by Johnny Lee Middleton, on bass. As we've mentioned elsewhere in these pages, their initial influences were bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, and this was quite a pparent on their debut album, "Sirens", which came out in 1985, as well as on their very first EP, "City Beneath the Surface". Second guitarist Chris Caffery joined a few years later, just prior to the recording of their excellent "Gutter Ballet" album in 1990. By now, Savatage had built up a strong following, especially in Japan. Vocalist Zak Stevens (ex-White Witch) was recruited, r eplacing Jon Oliva, who'd been relegated to nominal backing vocal duties, a lthough he elected to concentrate on writing rock operas full time and working as part of Doctor Butcher. Criss Oliva was tragically killed in a motor accident in 1993, and his replacement was ex-Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick, whose former band had toured with Savatage in support of Dio in 1989. Savatage are still very much around today and a new album, "Poets and Madmen" is due in March/April this year. 

Savatage 
Savatage - Surrender, from "Poets and Madmen", released a few weeks ago, and featured once again, by public demand (you'll recall that we featured the album in the new releases spot last week!). This was a first for us to do this on The Dinosaur Days. We've never featured a brand new release on the new releases slot one week and then as part of the normal Dinosaur Days the very next week, but it just goes to show how well liked and respected this stunning US progressive metal act are in this country. The album should be in the stores now, and if you'd like to read up on the album, please refer to last weeks new releases section in these pages. 

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Biography by Steve Huey
Savatage formed in Florida in 1978 as Avatar, led by brothers Jon (vocals) and Criss (guitar) Oliva. They changed their name to Savatage in 1983, pursuing a strongly Judas Priest- and Iron Maiden-influenced style of metal. Their other members included Steve "Doc" Wacholz (drums) and Keith Collins (bass), who was later replaced by Johnny Lee Middleton. They meandered between basic metal and more commercial fare before adding second guitarist Chris Caffery and hitting their stride in 1990 with Gutter Ballet. The band showed a flair for intense, melodic hard rock, dramatic balladry, and elaborate, operatic concepts, which they pursued over their next few albums. Criss Oliva was killed in an auto accident in 1993; he was replaced by former Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick, but the new lineup was ill-received. Dead Winter Dead followed in 1995, and after a three-year absence Savatage returned with The Wake of Magellan. The Final Bell appeared in 2000, and Poets and Madmen followed it in 2001. 

 

Keith Collins
Johnny Lee Middleton
Criss Oliva
Jon Oliva
Al Pitrelli
Alex Skolnick
Steve Wacholz
Chris Caffery
Jeff Plate
Zachary Stevens

Fates Warning
Queensr├┐che
Sieges Even
Rainbow
Morgana Lefay

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

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Here are a list of websites for this band.  More...

 

 

Savatage - 1983 - Sirens - 3/5

Savatage - 1985 - Dungeons Are Calling - 4/5

Savatage - 1985 - Power of the Night - 2.5/5

Savatage - 1986 - Fight for the Rock - 1.5/5

Savatage - 1987 - Hall of the Mountain King - 4/5

Savatage - 1989 - Gutter Ballet - 4/5

Savatage - 1991 - Streets, A Rock Opera - 4.5/5

Savatage - 1993 - Edge of Thorns - 4/5

Savatage - 1994 - Handful of Rain - 3/5

Savatage - 1995 - Dead Winter Dead - 4/5

Savatage - 1997 - The Wake of Magellan (UK) - 4/5

Savatage - 1998 - The Wake of Magellan - 3/5

Savatage - 1999 - Final Bell - 4/5

Savatage - 2000 - Ghost in the Ruins - 4/5

Savatage - 2000 - Japan Live '94 - 4/5

Savatage - 2001 - Poets & Madmen - 4/5

Savatage - 2001 - Poets & Madmen (UK Edition) - 4/5

Rating

 

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