Under the direction of longtime producer/lyricist Paul O’Neill, the band, Jon Oliva (vocals, keyboards), Chris Caffery (guitar), Johnny Lee Middleton (bass), and Jeff Plate (drums), deliver yet another twisted concept while embracing all that has ever been known to be Savatage.
Poets & Madmen unveils the story of three teenagers who break into an abandoned mental institution, where they come across the files of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Kevin Carter, who had gone mad reflecting upon the images of African famine he had documented. As with any of O’Neill’s concepts, there is much more to the story than what appears on the surface. Though, without hesitation it is easy to conclude that O’Neill is the Poet and Oliva is the madman, and at first listen fans are sure to recognize more than hidden meanings.
In addition to a surprise bonus, the resurrection of “Shotgun Innocence,” the last song recorded by Criss Oliva in 1993, it seems that in its entirety, this release has recaptured historical elements that fans had grown to love about Savatage. The band’s journey to rediscover their identity is apparent from Caffery’s fierce guitars and the melodic chorals of “Commissar” to Oliva’s twisted operatic explosion during the epic “Morphine Child.” From a whisper to the familiar scream of the “Mountain King” Savatage has announced a triumphant return.