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.