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Oliva: Raise The Curtain

Savatage mainstay finally goes solo.

Although best known as frontman for prog metallers Savatage, Oliva has more recently found more success as composer, arranger and singer for US-based prog rock collective Trans-Siberian Orchestra (there have also been stints fronting the short-lived Doctor Butcher and more latterly Jon Oliva’s Pain).

Raise The Curtain, however, is the commanding frontman’s first proper solo venture. It also features the last remaining music he penned with his late brother Criss, the Savatage guitarist killed in a road accident in 1993.

While echoes of Savatage’s sometimes gritty attack remain, this is by far and away the proggiest set of material Oliva has offered. From the emphatic opener of the title track to the closing strains of The Truth this is a strong body of work. Many of the tunes, such as Father Time, Big Brother and The Witch operate like mini rock operas in themselves (if you liked Savatage’s Gutter Ballet or Streets, you’re sure to like these).

Can’t Get Away nods back to the 60s and the Beatles and The Who for inspiration, and the emotive I Know shows Oliva still knows his way around a good ballad. Let’s hope there’s more where this has come from.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock, as well as sleevenotes for many major record labels. He lives in North London and happily indulges a passion for AC/DC Chelsea Football Club and Sydney Roosters.