Artist: Savatage 
   Title: Poets And Madmem

No question this will be one of the most eagerly awaited releases of 2001, after all it has been a wait of over 3 years since The Wake of Magellan.

With Al Pitrelli joining Megadeth and the sudden departure of Zak Stevens for family reasons, this has meant Jon Oliva once again handling vocal duties, as passionately and as capable as ever.

Since this was basically recorded as a quartet this has meant the lessening of the more expansive sound of the previous couple of recordings.

What we have here is a rawer stripped back to basics rocks like a proverbial bugger sonic metal album! But has it been worth the wait? The true furious metal of I Seek Power with Oliva's essential trademark gravely vocals, the gripping Stay With Me Awhile, the metal power and hook of Drive, the melodic crunch of the single Comissar or the controlled aggression of Man in the Mirror, this is a band still full of confidence and playing what it does best.

Chris Caffrey's playing throughout is of the traditional heavy metal guitarist, riffs that burn , solo's that shred and rhythm, power and passion in abundance. The album is based around a true story of an American photographer who....(oh just listen to the damn thing and find out).

At its centrepiece is the 10 minute epic Morphine Child which brings all the classic Savatage elements together, pomp, metal, power and even the ubiquitous multi-tracked harmonies.

Power and metal run through Poets and Madmen and this should be one of the biggest sellers of the year, it's just a pity we probably will never get to see it played live in the UK.

The answer to my original question is yes definitely, but you must have guessed already!

(This review was brought to you courtesy of The Groove Machine.)


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