|Review: Savatage - Sirens|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 1983
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: December 12, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
So, here's where it began for one of the world's coolest metal bands, the impervious Savatage, and while it may not be considered their best work, Sirens shows the band at a level of high aggression they wouldn't reclaim until the legendary Hall Of The Mountain King. Despite the climate of the metal scene at the time, their debut doesn't really sound like anything that was knocking around, and it still has an original, timeless quality. Even though Jon Oliva wouldn't introduce Broadway elements into his music until the epic Gutter Ballet, you can still hear some theatricality here, especially during the bitching title track, which opens the album with one of Criss Oliva's best and most venomous riffs. Hell, there's no disputing this is the best song on here (with the exception of the mighty, Priest-riddled "Rage"), I mean, just take one listen to that middle eight. Jon's shrieks are so high they could break glass, but fuck me, are they cool. It's the kind of moment that makes you love this band.
The best thing about early Savatage is you can hear so many bands in it, and I'm talking about people who drew influence from them. Iced Earth in particular, during riffs like those found on "Holocaust" and "Living For The Night". Under a production that is very of its time (in other words, pretty gash by today's standards), Sirens pulses with raw energy, and while the band are musically on fire, there is a certain naivety here. Unlike later releases, there is some filler material, with "Twisted Little Sister" having some vocal issues, and "I Believe" starting on the wrong foot before finally breaking out into a sweeping solo.
Savatage are a band you can pick up at any point in their career and find something of quality, and Sirens is certainly worth a few listens, especially if you're into your Heavy Metal. But the Oliva boys had more up their sleeves than this. This was just a good starting point.
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