|Jon Oliva’s Pain – ‘Festival’ (AFM Records)|
|Written by David Whistance|
|Thursday, 04 February 2010 20:12|
In 2003, whilst writing material for his day job as lead vocalist in the mighty Savatage, Jon Oliva quickly realised that he had written such a wealth of quality material that rather than simply disregard the output as surplus to requirements, he should form a side project to display this musical output, and so it came to pass Jon Oliva's Pain was born.
On the eve of Jon Oliva's Pain's fourth release 'Festival', which in itself is a far less experimental offering than their last album 'Global Warning', I find myself thinking is this 'Festival' going to be a full on Monsters Of Rock event or one of them V type picnics with music, that no self respecting metal fan would be seen dead at?
Well, I think we all know the answer to that question already don't we?
Yes, in true metal style the album kicks off with a fantastic guitar lead courtesy of Matt Laporte and Tom McDyne, that gives way to the familiar snarling vocal attack of Jon Oliva doing exactly what he does best spitting out the chorus of 'Lies' with venom and bile.
'Death Rides A Black Horse' (or in the case of the late great Marc Bolan, a Mini Cooper) is up next, and this is a great traditional metal number that features an illustrious keyboard backline from John Zahner, steering the Metal Stallion gallantly onwards at full pelt.
The carnival of horrors that is title track 'Festival' is a fiesta of metal magnitude. Roll up roll up, and experience some metal magic that will leave you spellbound. This gives way to my personal favourite of the album 'Afterglow' which is a slow burner of a number that builds into a metal extravaganza, demonstrating Jon Oliva's roaring vocal style to great effect, before concluding in a bizarre jazz odyssey leaving you the listener naturally dumbstruck.
Then it's time to get transported back to the Eighties for a moment (when we all had more hair and smaller waistlines), for the arena rock supreme 'Living On The Edge' a truly great rock number, featuring over the top gung ho backing vocals.
At the height of its commercial popularity, heavy metal rarely produced an album without you having the customary ballad on board and 'Festival' is no different as they give us two great ballads in the form of 'Looking For Nothing' and 'Winterhaven'.
It's soon back to rocking business with the almighty doom-tastic number 'I Fear You', and with the colossal roar of Jon Oliva out front and loud enough to scare even the hardest man, I think we may be the ones in fear here Jon, thank you very much.
'Festival' comes to its conclusion in a slightly more sombre moment than I would have expected, as the piano led AOR number of 'Now', leaves us all waving our trusty cigarette lighters, high in the air, but I'm suddenly left thinking great festival but where were the fireworks at the end?
I suggest you catch the 'Festival' for yourselves at various locations across Europe this summer...you won't be disappointed.