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CRISS OLIVA – Remembering This Guitar Legend On The Anniversary Of His Passing

Posted in guitarists, Heavy Metal, heavy metal bands, Metal, metal bands, metal music, Music, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , on October 17, 2013 by Metal Odyssey

Savatage - Ghost In The Ruins - A tribute to Criss Oliva - promo cover

CRISS OLIVA was the co-founder of the iconic SAVATAGE and the younger brother to (The Man Of Music) Jon Oliva. Criss Oliva was (and still is) a guitarist who has inspired and influenced countless of musicians across our planet. Criss Oliva’s tragic death on October 17th, 1993, from an oncoming drunk driver was a tremendous shock to the music world. The music of Criss Oliva lives on and he shall never be forgotten by this fan.

Below was a reminder I came across this morning, from Bryan Holland, co-founder/guitarist and songwriter of the outstanding Metal band Reverence, that the 20th anniversary of Criss Oliva’s passing is today.

As reported on the Reverence Facebook page:

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of Criss Oliva, guitarist of Savatage. Please take a few minutes today and listen to this hugely talented band and massively underrated guitarist who personally influenced Pete Rossi and myself’s playing and writing more thank anyone else ever has.

You won’t regret it…Keep his and the band’s music alive, that way Criss and Savatage will live on forever.

~ Bryan Holland

Metal Odyssey Note: The drummer for Reverence, Steve Wacholz, is also a co-founding member of Savatage. Criss Oliva’s former Savatage bandmate, the legendary Chris Caffery, wrote a heartfelt piece about Criss Oliva today as well; you can read it by going to the Savatage Facebook page here: Savatage

Savatage - Ghost In The Ruins - A tribute to Criss Oliva - promo cover

After I read memorial pieces that Bryan Holland and Chris Caffery wrote, I knew I had to listen to Savatage today in memory of Criss Oliva. The Savatage CD I chose from my collection: Ghost In The Ruins – A Tribute To Criss Oliva. This CD was released back in 1995, via Nuclear Blast America. All 13 songs are live and the sound is stellar! I included in the track listing (below) the year and venue for each song’s live recording. The production by Paul O Neill and Jon Oliva I applaud for having this CD sound like a continuous concert performance, with no silent breaks between the songs.

I honestly just bought this CD (used) for the first time, over this past Summer, for an amazing price of $2.99 (U.S.) at Omega Music, in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Unreal. To say I recommend this Tribute To Criss Oliva CD is an understatement! Hearing the guitar wizardry of Criss Oliva on this CD is incredible! The Criss Intro (guitar solo) is grand! The finale is Post Script, which is a sound check by Criss Oliva; it makes for a fittingly perfect way to end this CD. This Savatage lineup was simply… superb.

I feel very fortunate that I was able to see Savatage (back in 1987) perform live, as they were out supporting their Metal classic: Hall Of The Mountain King. I feel very, very fortunate.


Jon Oliva – vocals and keyboards

Criss Oliva – guitar

Johnny Lee Middleton – bass

Chris Caffery – guitar

Steve Wacholz – drums


City Beneath The Surface – N.Y.C. – The Ritz – 1990

24 Hours Ago – Spectrum Coliseum – Philadelphia – 1988

Legions – Spectrum Coliseum – Philadelphia – 1988

Strange Wings – Spectrum Coliseum – Philadelphia – 1988

Gutter Ballet – Los Angeles Palace – 1990

When The Crowds Are Gone – Hollywood Palace – 1990

Of Rage And War – Brooklyn – Lamour – 1990

The Dungeons Are Calling – Long Island – Nassau Coliseum – 1988

Sirens – Long Island – Nassau Coliseum – 1988

Hounds – Brooklyn – Lamour – 1990

Criss Intro – Cleveland – Agora – 1987

Hall Of The Mountain King – Brooklyn – Lamour – 1990

Post Script – Sound Check – Hollywood Palace – 1990

Savatage - Classic Logo - B&W

* For More Info On The Life Of CRISS OLIVA:

* For More Info On SAVATAGE:

Stone - Motorhead Tee  pic:small




SAVATAGE ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’ – Stone’s Metal Pick Of The Day

Posted in classic rock, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal news, metal music, Music, progressive metal, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by Metal Odyssey

SAVATAGE – I once owned Hall Of The Mountain King on vinyl. Years later, the vinyl is gone and I have it on CD. Yes, I prefer the vinyl. That’s besides the Metal point though, for Hall Of The Mountain King is such a classic of Metal classics, listening to it on a hissing cassette would still likely be okay by me.

When this album was released back in 1987, I was introduced to the title track first on MTV’s Headbangers Ball. The music video for this song was pretty cool, epic and entertaining, not the run-of-the-mill Heavy Metal video of the time. I found the title track to be undeniably progressive, compared to the Metal that Savatage was known for. This title track grew on me quickly and I ran out and bought the album… I was psyched.

From the artwork of Gary Smith to ALL ten songs, Hall Of The Mountain King had me hooked. I’ll say it again: a classic of classics. I’ll go as far by stating this album is a “top ten favorite of mine for all time” too. The more I listen to Hall Of The Mountain King, the more I love it. Picking a favorite song on this album is not easy for me. Strange Wings and The Price You Pay are two that get “repeat play” more often by me though.

Check out the classic – Hall Of The Mountain King music video below! Whoa!

The vocals of Jon Oliva on these songs are stuff of Metal legend. This amazing vocalist/musician never had to croon, continuously hit eye-popping high notes or try to sound like anyone else to be etched in my Metal senses so solidly. This is Jon Oliva and I swear he is one of the most underrated vocalists of all time, spanning any Rock or Metal genre. Speaking of the band itself: world-class musicians. Period.

The production of Paul O’Neill is superb and he brought in his vision for a future Savatage, one that none of us would have ever expected in our wildest Metal dreams. I remember the first time I listened to Prelude To Madness and I was awestruck. I thought, what is Savatage doing? This is Electric Light Orchestra gone Heavy Metal! It only made me more psyched out of my Metal mind, in part by being a huge fan of Electric Light Orchestra.

The overall sound, feel and vibe of Hall Of The Mountain King could never be duplicated, in my Metal opinion. If I had to recommend a Savatage album to someone unfamiliar with this band’s legacy, Hall Of The Mountain King would be it. My “Metal Pick Of The Day” or any day for that matter. Metal be thy name.


Hall Of The Mountain King – Track Listing:

24 Hrs. Ago

Beyond The Doors Of The Dark


Strange Wings

Prelude To Madness

Hall Of The Mountain King

The Price You Pay

White Witch

Last Dawn



Wanna read about Jon Oliva’s Pain upcoming concert, where they’ll be playing Hall Of The Mountain King live and in all of its Metal glory? Then click that big link below!

JON OLIVA’S PAIN – To Perform & Celebrate SAVATAGE Classic: ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’


Rest In Peace, Criss Oliva.


JON OLIVA’S PAIN – To Perform & Celebrate SAVATAGE Classic: ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’

Posted in Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal news, metal music, Music, progressive metal, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2012 by Metal Odyssey

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the SAVATAGE classic – Hall Of The Mountain King

One U.S. performance only, to be held on June 16th, 2012, at The Ritz Ybor in Tampa, Florida


As reported on Jon Oliva’s Pain official facebook page, February 17th, 2012:

JOP Tampa Show news: We will be filming this show on June 16th at the Ritz. This will be the only US show, and you now fully realize that you must be there to be a part of this documented, epic event! Tickets are selling fast, and I think this post will add another element of fuel to the fire for all of you sitting back and waiting…you have been warned!


For ticket and venue info, click on the link below:


For more info on JON OLIVA’S PAIN, click on the links below:

JON OLIVA’S PAIN – Official facebook




Winter of 2011: Two Album Titles of “Winter” That Sums It Up Best

Posted in classic rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music news, weather news with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by Metal Odyssey

So far, the winter of 2011 has been very, very, very, very, very, very, extremely, positively, absolutely, F’n cold, icy and snowy. If you live in the Midwest, New England or the Mid Atlantic States then you MUST know what I’m talking, um, complaining about. Eastern/Central Pennsylvania has not been immune from the ravaging cold, ice and snow from this 2011 Winter season.

I can recall, about a week ago, driving my kids to the bus stop, (yeah, it was too damn icy and cold to walk), when I looked down at the temperature gauge in the car… minus 7 degrees fahrenheit. MINUS 7 DEGREES! Tonight, the temperature is going to be in the “single” digits. I realize there are places on this planet that have much colder temperatures, I’m just letting out a tiny Winter rant right now. Call it a “touch” of the Winter bluesMetal be thy name.

Here art two very cool, (get it, cool?), album titles that best sum up this nasty Winter of 2011:

SAVATAGE – Dead Winter Dead (1995)

O.k., so I used this same SAVATAGE album title and cover to complain about the Blizzard of 2010… “Part II” last year. So what. This album title and cover gets my Metal point across. Plus this album kicks Metal butt too.

Cinderella – Long Cold Winter (1988)

Yup, just as this 1988 Cinderella album title states, it has been a Long Cold Winter. I feel like taking a Gypsy Road straight down to where there’s some warmer weather. Then again, as my loving/late mother used to say to me when I was a young lad: If You Don’t Like It, then tough.

I guess I’ll just count my blessings and be glad that I’m just alive… and put up with this Winter of 2011 for a little while longer. Heck, that damn otter, um, ground hog didn’t see his shadow this year either. That’s good news. I’ll bank on what that oversized squirrel didn’t see and be done with it.





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