Savatage - Dead Winter Dead
22 September 1995

01. Overture
02. Sarajevo
03. This Is The Time (1990)
04. I Am
05. Starlight
06. Doesn't Matter Anyway
07. This Isn't What We Meant
08. Mozart And Madness
09. Memory
10. Dead Winter Dead
11. One Child
12. Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)
13. Not What You See
14. All That I Bleed [Acoustic bonus] [2002 SPV CD reissue bonus]
15. Sleep [Acoustic bonus] [2002 SPV CD reissue bonus]
16. Miles Away/Follow Me [Acoustic bonus] [2011 EarMusic CD reissue bonus]
17. When The Crowds Are Gone [Acoustic bonus] [2011 EarMusic CD reissue bonus]

Many of us like Classic Metal, some others like Thrash and somebody else likes Power and Progressive. I think that everyone of us shall have this album: I'm typing this beacuse human kind is equipped with sensitivity. So everyone of us can't remain alienated from something that challenges our sensitivity. "Dead Winter Dead" is much more than a simple metal album: it is a musical monument against war.

In the past, many artists have dealt with war and they got good results [one song above all: Metallica's 'One']. During the Bosnian conflict in the '90s, Savatage's omnipresent producer Paul O'Neill couldn's bear to see thousands of disfigured corpses on tv and thousands of people ignoring what was going on Earth. He decided to stop that indifference: he invented a story and then composed some music on his piano with Jon Oliva. And in 1995 Savatage really hit the target: they created the right dramatic performance and the right musical interpretation of war. It was "Dead Winter Dead", their 10th studio album and 2nd rock opera.

The story is set in Sarajevo, where a gargoyle looks from above what is going on: the people, once happy, are living now in despair. This terrible feeling is all expressed in the beautiful line "and every prayer we pray at night has somehow lost its meaning". The protagonists, a serbian boy and a muslim girl, try to get them through the day as if war had never existed, but in the end both of them are killed. This tragic ending is there to highlight what war means.

The lyrics are beautiful, excellent, rich in the meaning, sometimes moving and explicit: you won't hear any bad word, but this is not the right cd for a child. Since I always pay attenction to the lyrics, this is my favourite concept album.

From the musical point of view, "Dead Winter Dead" is quite different from the previous releases: you won't find all those powerful riffs and aggressive vocals as in the early Savatage records, but you will find the true face of Savatage, in all its maturity and brightness: symphonic arrangements [above all: 'Overture' and 'Christmas Eve']; delicate beautiful piano parts - Jon Oliva's trademark -; perfect fusion between piano and distorted guitar [for example 'This Is The Time']; Zak Stevens' outstanding vocals [which are sometimes identical to those James Hetfield recorded one year later on Load and Re-Load]; rearranged classical pieces such as Beethoven's 'Ode To The Joy'; constant cold winter atmospheres that have inspired the side project called Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

My favourite songs are: 'This Is The Time [1990]' because of its wonderful chorus [I wonder how moving it is played live in front of thousands of fans singing]; 'This Isn't What We Meant' because it's the true soul of the story; 'Not What You See' because of the outstanding 3D counterpoint vocals [I can't count how many vocal tracks have been mixed together].

The only thing I don't like about this record is the lead guitar: all the solos are improvised and I really miss Criss Oliva.

Band profile: Savatage
Album: Dead Winter Dead


written by The Silent Man | 19.09.2003

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


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Grey_Dandelion - 07.05.2007 at 20:36  
An excellent album from an excellent band i give 9.5...and what a beautiful story!not what you see is one of the best songs ever...
Tadashi23 - 24.07.2008 at 21:44  
probably the best Savatage album! Zac: one of the best singers ever
Hourglass - 25.10.2008 at 22:10  
Awesome and very touching album
Hourglass - 25.10.2008 at 22:12  
If Criss would've lived to play on this album this might have been even better than streets...
Elio - 26.10.2008 at 09:38  
Now that's an album. Very strong and emotional. Awesome lyrics and concept.

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