“Edge Of Thorns” was my very first SAVATAGE album and even after a bit more then ten years it is one of my favorite albums of all times. One needs only to look at the really amazing album cover and you will understand me J
There were instantly two things that caught my attention (and not only), first it was the keyboard-work of Jon Oliva, which already after the first tones of the title track “Edge Of Thorns” had me, or then later the two instrumentals (only with keyboard) “Labyrinths” and “Exit Music” and of course the highlight of the album “All That I Bleed”, one of the best songs they have ever written. Yes and the second one was the voice of Zachary Stevens, especially with the slower songs, but of course not only. Here I wanted to name a few examples for that for his vocal abilities, but I could not go for one, because the whole album praises his voice.
At that time I did not know that this album had the terrible fate to be the follow up to the genial Rock opera “Streets”. But the task was mastered successfully by the band. Even if lead singer and mastermind Jon Oliva decided that with “Streets” he reached the peak of his musical career and he will step down and be active only in the background. But even so he wrote songs for this album and played on all songs, playing on different instruments and last but not least, he was responsible for the production together with Paul O’Neill, who can also be taken as a SAVATAGE member.
Musically the album is very varied, which is always the case with a SAVATAGE album actually. The opener already reveals what the band is really capable of, the songs start only with keyboard, notes which will probably stick to your ears from the very beginning, then the guitar and the rest of the instruments follow, all building up to a dragging song with the divine vocals of Zachary. “He Carves His Stone” is then a faster song, where Zachary can prove that he is comfortable with the higher vocal spheres as well. “Lights Out” is a really heavy song, the fastest on the album.
The songs of the album deal with different themes. The main hero in the song “Skraggy’s Tomb“ drowns himself in Whiskey after having some woman-trouble, “Follow Me” is about people who are under the influence of television, whose bible is the weekly TV guide and “Damien” has a darker touch performed with a lot of feeling by Zachary. The last track “Sleep” performed only with guitar and vocals is a wonderful and fitting closing to a likewise wonderful album.
SAVATAGE were, are and will be one of the best Power Metal bands of all times and this album is yet another proof what great musicians these guys really are. Just when you thought that they have given all with “Streets” they just come to prove you wrong. I can just recommend it!!! (Online August 25, 2006)
Guest reviewer Jenö Szöke