Oliva
Raise The Curtain


4.0
excellent

Review

by PsychicChris USER (52 Reviews)
August 20th, 2013 | 6 replies | 1,006 views


Release Date: 07/02/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While Oliva does stick to a few of the frontman's core templates, the last name basis is justified as he picks up a few new conspirators and provides even more experimentation.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

When you’re as invested in your projects as Jon has been with Savatage and its spinoffs, it is easy to question why you would want to release a solo album. While Oliva does stick to a few of the frontman’s core templates, the last name basis is justified as he picks up a few new conspirators and provides even more experimentation. This may also be the last album to feature contributions frm the late Criss Oliva, effectively bringing an end to what I like to call the Shoebox Era.

Just as Jon Oliva’s Pain and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as seen as offshoots of Savatage, Oliva could certainly be viewed as an extension of Jon Oliva’s Pain. That project’s penchant for theatrics and the vocals’ raspy tone are still secure, as are the layered structures and progressive influences that were developed on 2008’s Global Warning and 2010’s Festival. The appearance of Pain drummer Christopher Kinder also helps with the connection though he doesn’t really shape the sound either way.

What truly sets this apart from past projects is a distinct lack of metal. The upbeat “Big Brother” borders on heavy but there are more prog and classic rock touches than anything else. The title track serves as a cheerful overture in the vein of Styx and Boston, “Father Time” is driven by a light 70s style riff, and snatches of Beatles pop up on “Soldier” and the closing “Can’t Get Away.” A few songs are also made interesting by the inclusion of a horn section with “Ten Years” arguably being the album’s best song because of it.

Of course, Raise The Curtain still has a few flaws despite the successfully lighter direction. While its second half is noticeably darker, the writing is a little jumbled as “Armageddon” has a slightly awkward structure while “Stalker” and “The Witch” blur together. The lyrics are also rather plain though that’s been noticeable with every band that has been formed without Paul O’Neill’s involvement.

As Jon himself points out in the liner notes, Raise The Curtain could be seen as a companion to Savatage’s Handful of Rain. While this effort is much lighter in comparison, they both feature Jon providing a bulk of instrumentation and both have a feeling of closure. Considering how Jon wants to go back to a heavier sound with his next venture, this probably won’t be the last we’ll see of him. Let’s just see how well he does without the shoebox…

Current Highlights:
“Raise The Curtain”
“Ten Years”
“Father Time”
“I Know”
“Big Brother”

Originally published at http://psychicshorts.blogspot.com



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2013



6006 Comments


Very well written review, pos.

The track released some time ago was pretty good.


One suggestion:

Just as Jon Oliva’s Pain and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as seen as offshoots of Savatage,

Just as Jon Oliva’s Pain and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra are considered to be the different heirs apparent of Savatage.

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TrueBlood
August 20th 2013



1388 Comments


The main problem with this review is there is no true introduction into this band. I know what he's talking about but reviews should be geared toward the sense that no one knows anything about this band. Introduce them and mention what type of music they do. Simple? That little difference can make a world of a difference in whom you reach. And please don't tell me you write reviews for yourself. I won't neg but imo you are clearly lacking some fundamentals to your review.

manosg
August 20th 2013



5938 Comments


Cap has made a valid point. Other than that, Jon Oliva is an extremely talented musician and I will most definitely listen to this one since you say it's that good.

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ksoflas
August 20th 2013



361 Comments


The king is back!

LordHamLeg
August 20th 2013



26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty accurate review. Some weak lyrics in places (I especially found "The Truth" to be soppy and silly), but the instrumentation and vocals are excellent. He's a very versitle musician, completely self taught, which is why I enjoy his work and following his career. He's on par with Zappa for me, in terms of versitility and musical ability, albeit a very different, less cynical type of genius.

rockandmetaljunkie
December 5th 2013



3302 Comments


This is the next album on my check list. I'm eager to check it out.



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