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Poets And Madmen
April 2001
Released: 2001, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: CrashTest

Savatage is back with a vengeance my friends, and so is Jon’s voice! Yet another great album built around yet another engaging story. That’s right, another concept album from one of the few bands that can pull it off consistently. As much as I liked the stories on the previous concept albums, I think this story is actually my favorite. Personally, I can relate to it more. I’ve never been a drug addict or rock star (Streets), I’ve never been to Bosnia or been caught up in a war (Dead Winter Dead) and I’m not an old man questioning the way I’ve lived my life (Wake of Magellan), BUT I have been a curious youth, prone to getting into things I shouldn’t. If that introduction piques your interest check out the details at the official Savatage website. Better yet, go buy the CD when it gets released on April 17th! Haha.

I should comment briefly on the departure of Zach Stevens. I was really disappointed when I read that he was leaving because I think he made Savatage a better band. At the same time, it’s good to hear Jon singing all the songs again. Jon has a unique voice, and though it seems to have lost some strength, the emotion and passion you’ve come to expect from him are still there. And that my friends, is a godsend.

Any good concept album must weave the tale to be told, but more importantly, the songs have to be good enough to stand on their own. No problem there as the songs are solid. My personal favorites are There In The Silence, I Seek Power and Drive, which make the album worth the price of admission by themselves. There are some other particularly noteworthy moments on the album as well. Morphine Child is a great song that clocks in at more than ten minutes, which has got to be the longest song Savatage has ever recorded. The intro to Drive is flat-out awesome. I haven’t hit the backwards button on my CD with that much frequency since the intro to Conception’s brilliant single Flow. Finally, I really like the way The Rumor ends with the soft acoustic guitar and Jon singing “Jesus, it would seem then / That somehow you still trust / You have more faith than us / Perhaps that is how it should be”. Awesome.

I have no complaints with anything on this album. From start to finish it’s just a great listen and one that will leave fans more than satisfied. I’d put it up there with my favorite Savatage albums: Gutter Ballet, Streets, Edge of Thorns and Wake of Magellan. Now if only I can find a way to catch the opening show of the Poets & Madmen World Tour up near DC on the 17th. I’ll find a way though, even if I have to crawl!

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