Oh, oh, I thought, not another superfluous tribute-album!
But far from that, because with "Return Of The Mountain King - A Tribute To SAVATAGE" the Italian Underground Symphony-label presents a sampler that positively differs from the usual tribute-compilation. First of all the costly and greatly designed DigiPak attracts my attention, that alone would be worth the money already. But Underground Symphony already are renowned for great packaging, but only too often poor music.
But this time this fear has been insubstantial, because (thank God) mainly older SAVATAGE-material has been used. There are no real points of criticism with any of the bands, without exception US have chosen worthy bands. Sure, there are some weaknesses in the vocal-department here and there (especially with PORTRAIT, although the musical interpretation of "Edge Of Thorns" (very doomy) is close to brilliant), but apart from that this sampler shows almost no weakness. Be it DIVISION with a skull-splitting version of "Power Of The Night", CIPHER with a very, very metallic interpretation of "Chance" (with harsh Death-Vocals in the background!) or MESMERIZE with a very powerful "Sirens" (almost shadowing the original), it's just plain fun to hear the SAVATAGE-classics in slightly altered form.
A truly worthy tribute-album and for SAVA-fans absolutely essential!