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Before Streets...there was this! - 54%

natrix, February 29th, 2012

Hmm...it's really hard for me to say that this album sucks. But when my finger keeps jumping for the "advance track" button, I find it hard to justify buying it. Or even giving it a score of 50. But the fact is, there are some really, really good moments here.

So, apparently some parts of this were supposed to be a Jon Oliva solo album, and other parts (those rotten cover songs!) were pure label suggestion. That would explain the nearly half and half split of awesome songs to fecal matter.

So, the two cover songs are terrible. I don't care for either, and they don't fit Savatage at all. Especially "Day After Day," which is downright embarassing! "Lady In Disguise," "She's Only Rock and Roll," and "Out in the Streets" don't really do it. They're just rather weak, even if some of their elements come from early Savatage songs. And in a way, they are a harbinger of the stuff that Savatage would begin propagating with Streets; melodramatic, quasi-grandiose and a bit pretentious.

The title track kicks things off right. This sounds like Savatage, but more glam metal with those absolutely ridiculous bass drums. You can almost imagine the band playing in s strip club! Especially with those jerky riffs that Criss often throws out. But I digress. The title track is killer, albeit not as driving as "Power of the Night," for example. It is epic and mighty. Criss' guitars always sound like an orchestra of guitars; absolutely massive and ominous. Whereas Power of the Night was a more speedy album, this one is heavy and obstinate, with a slower pace.

"Crying for Love" is a damn good power ballad. This is the darkness that Savatage is so good at! Hell yeah! "Hyde" and "Edge of Midnight" are both equally as dark. Heavy, ominous riffing, and a murky production really make them sound gritty. Add Jon's characteristic maniacal vocal deliver and you've got winning material. "Red Light Paradise" is an awesome way to close the album out, once again bringing us back to the strip club with appropriate lyrics. That opening riff is just wicked! Ace material, for sure.

Sadly, this does have quite a few of the elements of glam, namely those loud bass drums, but it's done in a characteristically Savatage way. And on the songs that are good, they make Motley Crue sound like Justin Bieber. Let's not forget those awful covers and the really lackluster songs. My verdict is that this should be purchased only used, or at 50% of its market value, because the good songs are totally essential.