Savatage released six records in the 80’s. If you can only have one, make it Hall Of The Mountain King. The album features some of Savatage’s best songs including 24 Hrs. Ago, Strange Wings, Hall Of The Mountain King, and my personal fave… Legions! The brothers Oliva were at the top of their game for Hall Of The Mountain King. Jon’s mouth of madness unleashed a vocal performance straight from hell, while Criss’ heavy riffing cut through the air like napalm. Criss was always a master riffsmith, and had one of the best guitar tones in metal. He used a lot of drop tuning to get a dark, bottom heavy sound out of his axe. Add to that the perfect blend of overdrive and delay, and you’ve got yourself a legendary crunch.
Hall Of The Mountain King marked the first time Savatage worked with producer and collaborator Paul O’Neil. Eventually, the partnership took Savatage’s sound into a new direction for the 90’s. But never you mind, because back on Hall Of The Mountain King, the ‘Tage was still pouring hot metal into a bubbling cauldron of awesome.
Note: The late, great Ray Gillen contributed backing vocals on Strange Wings. He was rewarded for his service by having his name misspelled in the liner notes. My score: A