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Savatage Albums: Worst to First

My personal ranking of the greatest metal band nobody has ever listened to. Be sure to check them out, because they never received the acclaim they so rightfully deserved.
Streets: A Rock Opera

After some dabbling with a more progressive and operatic approach on their previous release, the band finally took the plunge and wrote a bonafide rock opera. Let me state this upfront, I fucking loath musicals and their prancy, pussified, dogshit ballads and the cringeworthy lyrics that so often accompany them. With that being said, I simply cannot find a single fault with this record. Savatage is still very much Savatage, just with a sharper focus, and a cohesive plot tying the tracks together. An absolute masterpiece in every conceivable way, without a single dud to spoil the bunch. Easily my favorite concept album of all-time, and far and away my favorite record of the 90’s.
Best Track: Believe
Grade: A+
Hall of the Mountain King

Hall of the Mountain King sees Savatage return to their power/speed metal roots after their previous records noticed departure. It is also the first record of theirs to feature songwriting credits with long-time contributor Paul O’Neil. It was at this moment where Savatage finally crafted their signature sound of breakneck riffs with a heavy dose of broadway-esque melodies. While this new sound developed, becoming more progressive and melodic over time, this record still maintains the heaviness of their early catalog along with the elegance of their succeeding albums. A must listen for any metal fan.
Best Track: Beyond the Doors of the Dark
Grade: A
Gutter Ballet

After dabbling with progressive and classical sound on Hall of the Mountain King, the followup sees the band embracing the sound and running with it. That’s not to say they forgot their heaviness but this record shows a clear shift to a more progressive and grandiose sound. The entire album plays out like a large scale stage production, with each track perfectly intertwined with one another. Easily their most focused record of the 80’s. Not one single track feels out of place or in need of rearrangement; perfectly turning like the cogs in a wheel..
Best Track: Hounds
Grade: A
Poets and Madmen

After a slightly disappointing stint in the 90, Poets and Madmen sees Savatage in their fully evolved state. Combining their 80’s aggression and 90’s progressive tendencies, Poets and Madmen is a seamless combination of the two. With the return of Oliva on vocal duties, Poets is the first album in almost a decade that truly sounds like the Savatage of yore. This may be the last album we will ever get from Savatage; but at least they went out with a fantastic record.
Best Track: Morphine Child
Grade: A-
Dead Winter Dead

It took a few tries, but Dead Winter Dead is the Zack Stevens album that really clicked with me. My main issue with the first 2 Zack Stevens is the lack of focus and cohesion from track to track. Thankfully, Dead Winter Dead While I prefer the faster, more aggressive side of Savatage, Dead Winter Dead’s slower, more somber atmosphere perfectly complements the story being told. If I were to recommend any Zack Stevens record to somebody, it would be this one right here.
Best Track: Doesn’t Matter Anyway
Grade: B+
The Dungeons are Calling

I don’t usually include ep’s, but I’m gonna make an exception for this one. This is Savatage at their most aggressive, and it fuckin rules. DAC is a bit of an anomole in the Savatage discography, nothing they’ve ever released sounds quite like this 4 track wonder. If this thing was full length, it would for sure be higher, but 4 kickass tracks simply isn’t enough to satisfy my Savatage cravings. On a different note; what the fuck is up with the turkey baster in that skull?.
Best Track: City Beneath the Surface
Grade: B
Edge Of Thorns

I’ll be honest, I’m really not a fan of Zack Steven’s voice. I think his vocals are among some of the most generic in the metal genre. He’s not a bad vocalist in any way, he just doesn’t have the same charisma and personality that Jon did. With that being said, Edge of Thorns is damn solid, and showed the band could move on without Jon, and do so successfully. The only major grievance Sadly, this was the last record with the shred wizard Criss Oliva on guitar, but he sure does deliver some amazing fretwork on his final record. Not a bad note to go out on.
Best Track: Damien
Grade: B
The Wake of Magellan

While Wake is a really solid record, it’s a little too progressive for my taste. They really The record doesn’t have any lackluster tracks, but it doesn’t really have any highlights either. In comparison to the two concept records that came before this one, Magellan falls just a tad short to be on their level.
Best Track: Paragons of Innocence
Grade: B-
Power of the Night

The first five songs on Power of the Night are pretty killer, sadly, the record takes a sharp nosedive at the halfway point, and never fully recovers. Savatage was still looking for their sound, so I can forgive the uneven nature of the tracks on here. It’s not fantastic by any means, but is still quite enjoyable in it’s own right.
Best Track: Necrophilia
Grade: C+

This one was definitely a grower for me. On the first couple listens I was left feeling relatively unimpressed, but after giving it another shot in preparation for this list it finally clicked with me. A solid, if not flawed debut.
Best Track: Living For the Night
Grade: C
Fight for the Rock

This is often regarded as Savatage’s weakest album, I completely understand why people think that. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as people make it out to be. There's some shitty poppy filler on this record, but there is also a healthy dose of fist pumping rockers too. Give this one another shot, it’s not as wretched as they say.
Best Track: Red Light Paradise
Grade: D+
Handful of Rain

Yeah, I’m not a fan of this one at all. It was around this time where Savatage really lost their hardened edge, which is a total bummer. There is some good stuff in here, but the relentless onslaught of ballads holds it back from being something worth coming back to. I like my Savatage to have balls, something this record doesn’t possess.
Best Track: Alone You Breathe
Grade: D
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