During the past two years, earMUSIC has given SAVATAGE fans and metal collectors a true treasure: the greatly desired LP reissue series of all studio albums. These carefully curated collector’s editions of high-quality, heavyweight 12-inch LPs — all released in chronological order and enriched with gorgeous gatefold covers, extensive liner notes and other nifty extras — quickly turned out to become real fan favorites.
Now it’s time to put the icing on the cake with a memoir to an exceptional man, held dearly by fans, family and fellow musicians alike — Criss Oliva: The band’s 1995 live album and tribute “Ghost In The Ruins” has found its way into this classy collection and will be released for the very first time on vinyl on October 27, 2023.
There are many guitar players who can play all the riffs — but there are very few who shape a distinct sound to such an extent that it becomes a milestone in the evolution of a musical genre. Criss Oliva was such a musician. To honor the legacy of Criss and his unmistakably unique work, SAVATAGE is now presenting the LP edition of “Ghost In The Ruins”. This album displays the grace, emotion, and poetry of Criss‘s most memorable solos. It comes from the hearts of the two brothers Criss and Jon Oliva. As Jon reflects on his brother’s work: “I think deep down inside, it bothered him that he wasn’t getting the recognition that a lot of people think he deserved, but he would just go, ‘Whatever. I’ll have my day.’ But he was a great man — a one-of-a-kind guitar player. I wonder what he would be like now.”
The original “Ghost In The Ruins” track listing consists of eleven songs and two instrumentals, carefully selected from the live performances during the years 1987 to 1990, depicting four albums, the respective tours and unforgettable moments. This limited LP edition on marbled orange/black vinyl includes three bonus tracks, taken from a 1987 SAVATAGE concert in Cleveland, Ohio. The heavyweight double LP comes in a beautifully designed gatefold cover, black lined inner-sleeves and a high-quality 12-page LP booklet with liner notes, and various archive photos and memorabilia.
To pre-order, visit savatagemerch.myshopify.com.
Criss, who was one of the founding members of SAVATAGE, was killed in October 1993 by a drunk driver when he and his wife Dawn were en route to the Livestock festival in Zephyrhills, Florida. The driver of the other car was found to have a drunk driving record of seven prior DUIs and having a blood alcohol content of .294 percent.
In a recent interview with Sakis Fragos of Greece’s Rock Hard, Jon confirmed that he is working on new music from SAVATAGE.
“This is gonna be the best album I ever made,” Oliva promised. “Unless I kill myself. All I know is that the SAVA fans are gonna be fucking blown away when they hear this. They’re gonna be blown away. I wasn’t gonna do the SAVATAGE thing and just do a half-assed album. If I’m doing this album, it’s gonna be the best album I’ve ever done. ‘Cause when I go out, I wanna go out on top.”
Zak Stevens joined SAVATAGE in 1992 as the replacement for Jon Oliva. Zak sang on four albums with the band — “Edge Of Thorns” (1993),“Handful Of Rain” (1994),“Dead Winter Dead” (1995) and “The Wake Of Magellan” (1997) — before departing in 2000, allowing Jon to return. Both Jon and Zak took part in SAVATAGE‘s 2015 performance at Wacken Open Air, which marked the band’s first, and only so far, appearance on stage since they went on hiatus back in 2002.
SAVATAGE‘s last album release, “Poets And Madmen”, in 2001 was highlighted by Jon‘s return as lead vocalist, replacing Zak, who left the band citing family reasons, and the departure of guitarist Al Pitrelli, who accepted an offer to join MEGADETH in 2000. Pitrelli did record solos for some songs prior to his departure. Another very limited U.S. tour followed, supported by FATES WARNING in the early shows, and then NEVERMORE for the remainder. Around this time, Jon chose Zak‘s replacement in the form of Damond Jiniya (DIET OF WORMS). Damond performed Zak‘s parts on tour, with Jon having an increased vocal role in proceedings.
In addition to his work with SAVATAGE, Oliva is well known for co-creating the classical music-meets-prog rock and pyro act TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA alongside the project’s founder Paul O’Neill. Oliva has reportedly remained involved in TSO‘s activities even after O’Neill‘s April 2017 death of an accidental drug overdose.
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