Savatage - Vicious Rumors


Köln, Germany - E-Werk
From: Metal Hammer DE
By: Andreas Schöwe / Matthias Breusch
Contributed by: Björn Rechel
Translated by: Ellen Bakvis

The prize for brilliance seems to be either shortterm existance ( i.e M.A.R.S ) or total lack of appreciation. How else can it be understood, that no more than 600 fans found their way into the "E-Werk", to attend the concert of probably the most ideal package in the reach of melodic speed- and power-metal anyone could imagine these days ?

Vicious Rumors played a support-slot, that could hardly have been any better than it was in this musical range. Besides the fact that the quintet formed around guitarist Geoff Thorpe and singer Carl Albert mixed in a lot of their solid older material ('Digital Dictator') with the tracks of their latest album 'Welcome To The Ball', Vicious Rumors proved, that bands that carry high speed as their main standard are also capable of emotional variation: 'Ship Of Fools' and 'Lady Took A Chance' supplied the band's set with high standard emotional variations and even managed to transpose these moderate feelings to the perpetually headbanging slaphappy community in the front rows.
And since the band wisely decided to totally renounce from solo-escapades, Vicious Rumors left behind a more solid impression than ever and - in coherence with their appearance, the musical ability of each single band member, their irreprochable synchronization and their unusually clear, transparent sound - made the audience forget that they originally appeared here "just" as the supporting act.
For me this evening, in cooperation with the headliner, definitely became the Concert Event of the Year...


Vicious Rumors

After the five Californians had ended their fascinating set before a quite exhausted audience ( Geoff Thorpe:"Too bad, in southern Germany, especially in Ludwigsburg, the reactions, in comparison with Cologne, were absolutely huge."), finally the gods of classical melodic power metal came on stage.
And you can say whatever you want:
Savatage, whether they manage to fill the big halls or not ( in spite of the success of 'Gutter Ballet' they unfortunately still don't ) is one of the very, very big bands of hardrock- and metal history. Maybe, future generations of heavy metal fans will one day be annoyed about the fact that they're not able to see these guys perform live, while nowadays hardly anyone notices, which opportunity they're missing here and now. At least this incredibly cool gig made me realize, how little substance and versatility so many other high-praised bands carry along with them, whether they're called Guns'N'Roses or even Metallica ( even though they write their own, great songs).
Savatage have once again impressively emphasized all their strong points: pumping power, the typical Savatage-groove, massive, fat, with intentional slow motion, staggering like a stranded seal; completed by Criss' ripping, raw, virtuoso, simply unique guitars; great vocals, even when things got multi-vocal, a perfectioned class performance concerning entertainment of piano- solo entertainer Jon Oliva, who came onstage slightly hoarse and throning above all: Dr. Killdrums, starting off with three bassdrums, who sqeezed the last sweatdrops out of his tan body with precise timing.
But yet another thing is important: Savatage belongs to the few bands, that hardly manage to fit all the highlights they have ever written into a one and a half hour program. 90 minutes just aren't enough for all that. This time for example, we had to do without classics like 'Warriors', '24 Hours Ago', 'Hard For Love' or 'Skull Session'. The consequences were a concert in which one hammer, one gripping melody was chasing the other. A bow that was spanned from the mystical sound to the ruthless final blow.
A gig, that was incredibly varied. A spectrum of class and musical mastership, which can hardly be described with simple words. You've just gotta see it. And the hall in Cologne unfortunately was 2/3 empty. Anyway, the people who were there at least came to see Savatage.
The Savatage setlist simply contained everything that makes cool metal music - unless ofcourse you're only into highspeed thrashing or death metal grunting...
And so the set started with 'Hall Of The Mountain King', immediatey followed by the ultra-hammer "Power Of The Night' followed by tracks like 'Of Rage And War', 'Sirens', 'Strange Wings', 'Dungeons Are Calling', 'Gutter Ballet', 'Hounds', 'Mentally Yours', 'Legions', 'When The Crowds Are Gone', 'She's In Love', 'Beyond The Doors Of The Dark' and ofcourse the very strong songs of the brilliant new album, like 'Strange Reality', 'If I Go Away', 'Jesus Saves', 'Streets', "Tonight He Grins Again', 'A Little Too Far', etc. : everything fitted like a glove.
Savatage live, that's monumental, in the true sense of the word. For me, Savatage are standing on the stairway to immortality, the stairway of the geniuses, as crazy and drug-inflicted as these guys may sometimes be.
There's just one thing left to be hoped for: that Savatage will one day finally be able to shove their well deserved harvest into the shed. There are lots of underestimated bands, that's for sure. But Savatage are the kings of the underestimated !