Album review: OLIVA – Raise the Curtain

AFM Records

Oliva is of course Jon Oliva of Jon Oliva’s Pain, Savatage and Trans Siberian-Orchestra (TSO) fame and this is his solo album. It differs from his JO Pain albums in that he handles most of the instruments himself, although JO Pain drummer Christopher Kinder plays on this album and Howard Helm does the guitar solos.

His co-partner on the album is Dan Fasciano and between them they create a whole host of musical treats. This album also marks a closing of a musical chapter as it features the final song ideas from his late brother Criss Oliva.

There are hints of Kansas, on the pomp rock title track, TSO and Savatage on the heavier moments such as ‘Soul Chaser’ and ‘Big Brother’. Then the horns section is whipped out for the jazzy feel added to ‘Ten Years’ and ‘Father Time’ has a big enough hook to land a whale. Another facet of Jon Oliva’s work is the piano led songs and ‘Soldier’ must rank as one of his best.

The bonus song ‘The Truth’ on the digipack is well worth hearing, one of those acoustic based heartfelt songs that Jon Oliva does so well.

Much more accessible than the Jon Oliva Pain albums and it owes more to Broadway and the TSO in sound. Highly recommended for fans of his music and it should draw in some new fans as there is plenty on this album to suit the most varied rock and metal palate. He follows his musical muse on this album and is not constrained by the expected musical direction of his other bands.

****

Jason Ritchie


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