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Savatage - 'Return To Wacken (Celebrating The Return On Stage Of One Of The World's Greatest Progressive Metal Bands)' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/92/a5/1f/savatage-return-to-wacken-94-1441136042.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 01, 2015    
 
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A fine representational piece of history and a quality way for Savatage to be remembered and brought back to our awareness.

Over a decade has passed since the last live appearance of legendary Progressive Metallers Savatage at the (equally) legendary Wacken Festival in 1998, and then again in 2002. When co-founder Jon Oliva announced the band's final breakup in 2007, the majority of the fans they had garnered – with their exceptional performances and musically unique style, depth and ingenuity – were all obviously devastated. Savatage have always been famous for their musical variety and their powerful, partly Progressive, Metal sound that was mixed with orchestral elements (especially on 'Streets' and 'Dead Winter Dead') while never neglecting memorability or melodiousness.

Now in 2015, the band is back – at least in a certain way – with the release of an album that not only signifies a beautiful remembrance to both of the aforementioned Wacken shows, but also prepares everyone for a de facto return to Wacken this year as Savatage, and also Trans Siberian Orchestra. For those who may be unaware, the latter is an outstanding project that developed from a series of events that included the "almost breakup" of Savatage in 1986 (due to financial problems) and the tragic death of Criss Oliva in 1993, alongside the additional orchestral visions of Jon Oliva and Paul O'Neill and the interest and far-sightedness of Atlantic Records, who encouraged them both to follow their visions and initiate the TSO formation.

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Savatage's 'Return To Wacken' includes a selection of eleven studio songs based on the set-lists of the above two Wacken shows. There are those who will say that this is just a making money-making exercise but I'd like to ask those detractors to re-consider. Of course, this is a compilation and the songs are studio versions but the album would be better viewed as a memory that the band wants to share with their fans. Musically it features a high-quality CD with brilliant sound on which amazing masterpieces, such as 'Hall Of The Mountain King', 'Gutter Ballet', 'Believe', 'The Wake Of Magellan' and beautiful 'When The Crowds Are Gone', bring back emotions and awe and just make you want to listen to all the Savatage records in your collection again. In addition there is the booklet which includes a large number of rare and authentic photographs, personal memories of Jon Oliva and several comments of the press about the two Wacken shows.

In short, this is a fine representational piece of history (given the lack of availability of any actual live material from said shows) and a quality way for Savatage to be remembered and brought back to our awareness. For those who will attend Wacken in 2015, it's also a perfect way to get in the mood for another, very likely, legendary appearance.

Julia Braun

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