JON OLIVA - First Official Review Of New Solo Album Available: "This Is A Mad Scientist's Musical Collage Of Basically Whatever The Fuck He Wants To Do On Any Given Day"

Hot Flashes

Posted on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 05:49:22 EST

JON OLIVA of SAVATAGE and JON OLIVA'S PAIN fame is gearing up for the release of his very first official solo album. The record will be released via AFM Records on June 5th.

Jon Oliva's Pain drummer/producer Christopher Kinder recently checked in with the following update:

"The first official review comes from none other than the premier festival promoter Glenn Harvester from the infamous ProgPower USA Festival. Read it, allow it to sink in, and then go buy this great piece of musical art! I might be a bit biased, but it is a piece of musical magic!

Well done Sir Glenn..."

Glenn Harvester's review appears below in its entirety:

"When I first heard that the Mountain King was going to do a 'solo' record, my initial thought was honestly to question whether it would be that big of a difference from his JOP releases. After listening to his new disc, I now understand the BIG difference. Whether you agree or not, JOP is more of an extension of Savatage to a certain extent. Raise The Curtain is not JOP. It is a singer/songwriter’s disc that speaks loudly of Jon’s musical inspirations and his current vision. I also like to believe it a reflection on a legendary career intertwined with how he wants to ride off into the sunset on his own damn terms, not what some office in NYC tells him.

This is a mad scientist’s musical collage of basically whatever the fuck he wants to do on any given day. The boss contributed essentially all of the guitars, bass, and even drums (on three tracks as JOP drummer Chris Kinder handles the rest). Jon has taken the absolute last of his brother’s lost tapes and used those riffs to inspire a smorgasbord of musical ingenuity. He also brought in a new songwriting partner in “Doc” Dan Fasciano on several of the tunes to take the keyboard s to a place not previously heard on an Oliva disc. Add in the efforts of long-time Morris Sound guru Howard Helm on a few solos, and you end up with a polished product (co-mastered by Tom Morris and Chris Kinder) that solidifies this disc highly among his illustrious discography.

Warning! The restrictions based on fan expectations have been removed and you can just feel him having fun with diabolical inspiration. If you are stuck in the past and just want Savatage, then politely exit stage left. For the rest… you can call it theatrical. You can call it moody. You can call it nostalgic. Hell, you can call it Sergeant Pepper’s evil bastard in places. Whatever you call it, it’s going to be interpreted differently by another. That’s the beauty & majesty of Oliva’s songwriting.

Brief thoughts on the tunes…

'Raise The Curtain' - It’s a 5 minute theatrical interlude complete with DOOR-ish keyboards on steroids. I threw away all of my preconceived notions of what to expect on the rest of the disc after the first 60 seconds.

'Soul Chaser' - For those that attended the Oliva songwriting workshop at ProgPower USA, you are going to simply be in awe. I wrongly assumed we were getting the basics of the song in Atlanta, and it would be tweaked in the studio to add layers, etc. Nope. You know *exactly what to expect.* It’s an uptempo rocker complete with Oliva’s infamous shotgun vocal delivery. The main bouncing Peter Gunn-ish theme keyboard riff intertwines nicely with the more complex guitar & key solos. And yes, the ProgPower Choir is there raising hell in all their brief, two-word glory.

'Ten Years' - Horns! Jazzy! This is just one hell of a toe-tapper with a catchy chorus. Did I mention the horns? In fact, there are horns provided by the USF Musical Department on several of the tracks. It’s just that this is the first track where they jump out and smack you in the kisser.

'Father Time' - It’s 'Free Ride' Mountain King style! We are awash in a glorious 70’s classic rock vibe.

'I Know' - Dr. Jekyll , meet Mr. Hyde. On paper, this song just shouldn’t work. However, I’ll be damned if it doesn’t pull you in. It starts with a duel between the sinister tone you would expect from Jon and a soaring heartbreak of a chorus. It then morphs into an acoustic-driven power ballad with balls.

'Big Brother' - For all you old bastards, you will smile the moment you hear the keys hit. It brings back memories of BOSTON's 'Foreplay'. Doctor Dan is evidently announcing his presence with Nuke Laloosh type authority! This is one of the heavier tunes on the discs and brings more of the maniacal JOP flavor back to the disc.

'Armageddon' - This track would have fit perfectly with the rest of the evil carnival ride on JOP’s Festival.

'Soldier' - I am listening to this track as I type with chill bumps on my arms. This ranks up there with the best ballads Jon has ever written. It honestly could have fit alongside the songs from Streets. It’s both beautiful and gut-wrenching at the same time. His Lennon influence shines here more than anything. Btw, the USF folks contribute an almost ethereal flute here. This is just beautiful.

'Stalker' - How about a bit of a Middle Eastern motif to move things back to the mad scientist vibe? How about a vocally pissed-off Oliva to set the tone for the rest of the tune? Check.

'The Witch' - After tickling the ivories 'Tage style, the tune brings about a bit of an early Rush vibe complete with extended jam (the first half of the tune is instrumental). A mid-section interlude brings back the heavy side that we all know and love. By the way, one cannot help but to ponder who exactly those scathing lyrics are about…

'Can’t Get Away' - The longest track on the disc starts off squarely in the bluesy style of JEFF HEALEY. It sure as hell doesn’t stay there though. It’s all over the place from there, bringing back elements heard throughout the disc. Big props for the tasty guitar solo & the horns once again.

'The Truth' (bonus track for various versions) - An accordion and mellow acoustic guitar ballad take us to the end of the disc. The master grins, nods to the John & Paul, takes his bow, and walks off into the sunset.

The day that Jon decides to retire from the studio, the metal world will weep. I know I will. There will never be another Jon Oliva."