Classic: Savatage, Streets, 1991

savatage - streetsOne of the bands that I was slow to grow into, but never stop listening to is Savatage. Their future will always be uncertain as most members are now enjoying massive success with acts like Trans Siberian Orchestra, Circle II Circle, or with Jon Oliva’s Pain. Several of those have been featured here before.

From the back catalogue of Savatage it is virtually impossible to pick an album that really stands out. I mean, Handful Of Rain, Gutter Ballet, Dead Winter Dead and so on… So the wise choice is probably this concept album Streets that ignited my love for them anyway. Released in a time that Jon’s brother Chris still provided the excellent guitar work (rest in peace), Streets sees Savatage exploring a concept around D.T. Jesus and the Subway Messiahs, as put together by writer and producer Paul O’Neill.
A lot of tracks here are vintage Savatage: Streets, or Jesus Saves with their great combination of guitars, piano and angular riffs, with often massive backing vocals. A Little Too Far is a simple but stunning piano ballad that should have been a global hit. Jon’s voice has all the trademarks he is loved for, for sweet to aggressive, he uses every trick to deliver.

But every track here pulls all the right strings with the grand finale being the combo of Somewhere in Time / Believe.  The latter again starting with only piano and vocal, and slowly building into this massive monster of a track.  Killer!

Classic: Streets, Crimes In Mind, 1985

streets - crimes in mindSome people in this band have been featured here before. Steve Walsh (vocals and keyboards – Kansas) and Mike Slamer (guitars – Seventh Key, City Boy). Together with  Billy Greer on bass (Seventh Key, Kansas) and Tim Gehrt on drums, the pair delivered this melodic hard rock album that ranks very high in my all time favourite rock albums list.

This album is filled to the brim with timeless songs. Walsh performs at his peak, Mike Slamer delivers stunning fretboard techniques in every track (and makes you wonder why he isn’t on top of every best guitarist list, and Gehrt and Greer provide the backbone to these performances.
What makes this album so special to me, is the fact that they infused their melodic rock with various progressive styled elements. No wonder with City Boy and Kansas roots present. Yet the melodies present carry every tune and set the room on fire.

Listening to this again, with tracks like Don’t Look Back, The Nightmare Begins, Broken Glass, or the title track, it is unbelievable how these songs have stood the test of time. Still sounding fresh after all those years! Okay, the drums do sound a bit electronic, but it fits the overall feel of the album well. A pity it never got the recognition it deserves (at least the way I see it). Make up for that and buy it at all cost…