has in many ways pushed the boundaries of how Heavy Metal can sound like.
Edge Of Thorns is one of those albums where the degree of variation and sanity is extremely high, and yet there runs a thin tread through the record that binds things together like some sort of magic glue, resulting in something that could be described as a complete experience.
Edge Of Thorns is not as symphonic as the previous records Streets and Gutter Ballet, it's more direct, hard and wild. Still there are plenty of piano elements but they are not as much up front with the exception of a few tracks and the two instrumentals. This is Savatage
sounding both refreshing and yet classic, a wonderful combination don't you think.
The majestic opening of Edge Of Thorns
quickly sets the standard for the rest of the album, what an opening scene! The combination of a mind-blowing riff and soft piano passages melts into a divine mixture. Everything about this song works 100%, just listen to the over the top solo part, the huge chorus, fantastic pounding bass, bombastic drumming and a lyric that touches the deepest core of your soul. This is the work of gods.
He Carves His Stone
starts out very gloomy and then slowly builds up before exploding with a massive driving guitar riff. Vocalist Zak Stevens debut is one of the finest I can think of, his vigorous and yet unique and magical soft voice just reflects all the right emotions in just the right way. Criss Oliva's (R.I.P.) fast and thrilling guitar playing is the best thing about this otherwise great song, without doubt my all time favourite guitarist, this regretfully being his last album and his last carving of a stone that will shine forever.
is short but very welcome swift banger. Lots of energy and unbound force released by effective "right in your face measures". I find the minor bombastic chorus inputs really fantastic; it gives the song even more intensity. The drums and bass collaborates really well on this one, almost jamming in style and the lead guitar playing is totally awesome.
With Skraggy's Tomb
we are offered another atmospheric and slow start as in He Carves His Stone
. This mid-tempo rocker has a cool grooving element but doesn't quite have the same driving dynamic as in so many of the other tracks. All in all a good song with another fine solo.
There are certain musical passages that leave me with an indefinable special feeling, something that reaches deep within and puts me into a very pleasant world just for a while. The slow beginning of Labyrinths
is one of those special moments, this nicely balanced piano/guitar piece gets me every time, what an atmosphere.
One of the best things about Follow Me
is the fantastic use of slower and more aggressive parts.
The sedative ending section where Criss playfully shows his genius mind for innovativeness is completely breathtaking, an extremely well put together and awesome track.
is a three minute piano track, its hard to describe but the mood and flow of the song is almost hypnotic, its just so clam and soft, very suiting for curing stress. Jon Oliva's flair for great piano melodies has always been there and this is a very fine moment.
Degrees Of Sanity
is a rather complex track that demonstrates the diversity of the music on this record. I really dig the extremely powerful bass approach on this one, as goes for the aggressive mid-section featuring technical drumming and another brilliant and intriguing guitar solo.
is one of my absolute favourites; the direct guitar riff could tear down any wall, wow what an impact of pure strength. Zak's impressive vocal interpretation brilliantly matches the fantastic and heartfelt lyric. The way the rhythm guitar is supplemented with secondary underlying chords once again shows Criss abilities, not to mention the soaring solo.
The sorrowful, moving and identifiable story is extremely well written, few words can say a lot.
When taking about climaxes, All That I Bleed
is in a league of it's own. There is no other way than to surrender to this masterpiece of a Metal ballad. The magical and emotional intro slowly elevates and with the lines lord bring on the night, wrap it all around me, let it hold me tight, soak up all that I bleed
we are offered music and lyrics that send shivers down the spine in a way never felt before.
is one of the few songs on this release not quite reaching the divine spectrum. The chorus lacks some spark and the basic rhythm is not the most thrilling either. Some of the best elements are Zak's powerful voice, the piano break and the laid-back guitar solo.
, another spectacular masterpiece. The sedative intro sets the perfect stage for the liberating break brought forth by an awesome guitar riff.
This very melodic track contains an inner vibe of freedom and positivism both lyrically and musically, the whole construction beautifully and impressively held up by Zak's divine voice. A cool detail is the moody keys at the end making things even more epic.
is a very mesmerizing acoustic guitar/vocal combination, performed with the skills that pushes it just that bit further. Man, have I heard this one many times as the last thing before I closed the lights at night. The more intense section fits in really well just before the calmness sets in for the sedative closing act.
Even though the guitar, piano and vocals are very important and leading elements, one should not neglect the ultra solid and very vivid bass (Johnny Lee Middleton) and drum effort (Steve Wacholz), extremely powerful and well-played stuff.
It's difficult to explain just how much this album means to me both musically and lyrically. Above I have tried to go through the musical side of the whole thing, but the lyrics are of great importance too. First of the amazing poetical style reaches celestial dimensions, and the themes of the songs are thrilling and extremely meaningful and important, filled with fascinating metaphors and innovative constructions. Paul O'Neill's talent really shines in so many of these amazing lines.
I'll leave you with a few words describing the production: Tight, transparent, powerful, perfect.
This is a timeless gem that I'm drawn towards over and over, an enchanting and profoundly striking piece of art.
Written by Tommy
Sunday, May 2, 2004Show all reviews by TommyRatingsTommy: 9.5/10
Members: 8.25/10 - Average of 4 ratings.Member ratings
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