Jon Oliva’s Pain – ‘Tage Mahal (2004, SPV/Steamhammer Records)
1. “The Dark” … 5:11
2. “People Say – Gimme Some Hell” … 4:08
3. “Guardian Of Forever” … 7:44
4. “Slipping Away” … 4:29
5. “Walk Alone” … 4:32
6. “The Nonsensible Ravings Of The Lunatic Mind” … 5:31
7. “No Escape” … 3:23
8. “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” … 5:54
9. “All The Time” … 4:58
10. “Nowhere To Run” … 5:23
11. “Pain” … 3:13
12. “Outside The Door” … 4:00
13. “Fly Away” … 4:11
Jon Oliva – Vocals, Keyboards
Matt LaPorte – Guitars
Kevin Rothney – Bass
Christopher Kinder – Drums
John Zahner – Keyboards
Steve Wacholz – Drums (“No Escape” and “Nowhere to Run”)
Producer: Jon Oliva & Paul O’Neill
This is the debut from Jon Oliva’s post-Savatage band and I was pretty excited to get this album. I think I picked it up about a year or so after its release, but I was becoming a big Savatage fan by that point. I’ve seen plenty of reviews claiming this to be basically be an unofficial Savatage album and I suppose that’s true, but it doesn’t hold a candle to earlier Savatage releases. Or so I thought when I first heard it. Honestly, I thought the album was garbage and I gave it only a few spins before throwing it into my ever-increasing pile of CDs soon to be forgotten.
I much prefer what-you-see-is-what you get heavy metal of their earlier years over the dramatic, melodic stuff they would later go on to do. From Streets onward, they’re just a totally different band to me that I have no interest in, so expectations were high for ‘Tage Mahal now that Oliva was on his own (even if O’Neill hung around as producer).
Looking back, it isn’t as bad as I remember it being because there are a number of bright spots. The problem I have with the album really boils down to Paul O’Neill, I think. The album is too melodic and there are too many slow spots and it’s just overproduced and too majestic sounding for its own good at times. I’ve read later Savatage described as “Broadway metal” and I guess that fits because this album is a follow-up of that era of the band and not their earlier sound. It has that TSO vibe to it, which is fine for TSO but I’d rather Oliva got back to his heavy metal roots for this one.
Call it thumbs in the middle for this one. A few songs show some heavy metal fire, but the rest is a bit pompous and bloated.
Many of these songs were fleshed out from incomplete works that Jon had worked on with his brother, the late Criss Oliva.
Highlights: “The Dark”, “People Say – Gimme Some Hell”, “Slipping Away”, “The Nonsensible Ravings Of The Lunatic Mind”, “No Escape”