Savatage - Sirens
Metal Blade
Heavy Metal
9 songs (35:51)
Release year: 1983
Savatage, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

Savatage is a band that I became familiar with soon after I first began listening to metal with songs such as Fountain Of Youth, Taunting Cobras, and Blackjack Guillotine. I really enjoyed the band's material as it was quite varied but also had a distinct sound that I could really connect with, even with both Jon Oliva and later Zak Stevens doing vocals on different albums. This is the band's first studio album, released in 1983, and it is almost as good as any heavy metal debut I've ever heard. The guitar work of the late Criss Oliva alone is enough to make this an excellent album, but the combined efforts of the Oliva brothers really shines in this and their other 80s albums. The first and title track of this album is one that I heard early in my metal listening days and quickly got me addicted to the band. Sirens is just such a killer song. It opens with some slow, distorted guitar and then the tolling of bells until the quick, melodic yet heavy metal riffs smash through the speakers and shred everything in their path. The vocals of Oliva come in with that high pitched yet gravelly feeling that just tears into you. The chorus is just so catchy, the vocals are damn near perfect, and the suspense that is built up in this song with the interludes and layered melodic guitar work is just awesome. Such a good opening track can have its disadvantages however, with the expectation that the rest of the album will be at the same or higher level. Fortunately Savatage manage to skillfully craft the rest of the songs to the same standards, though this is certainly my personal favorite from the album.

The second track, Holocaust, continues the driving energy with pounding drums from Steve Wacholz and simple, catchy riffs from Criss Oliva. I Believe starts out softly with clean electric guitar and clean vocals from Jon Oliva. Soon the thick drums come in again accompanied by a nice wah-induced electric guitar run. This is another quite memorable track from the album with plenty of catchiness and power that forces you to listen. There are also a lot of really quick, headbanging type songs on this album. With Rage the band really shows their quicker tempo abilities off with fast, albeit simple, guitar riffs from Criss Oliva and the half-sung, half-growled vocals of Jon. The song is also quite short coming in at less than three minutes, leaving you wanting more. Fortunately On The Run kicks off next, keeping the fast-paced energy and adding a bit more complexity. The music is once again dominated by pounding drums and catchy, heavy guitar riffs with plenty of wah. The next few tracks keep this heavy metal feeling going with great songs such as the Twisted Sister meets Judas Priest sounding Twisted Little Sister and the horror themed Scream Murder. The ballad Out On The Streets is quite good as well. While not nearly as good as later ballads such as Gutter Ballet and Alone You Breathe, it creates a serene yet powerful atmosphere that's not too cliché or sappy, finishing the album off nicely.

Though the band would not receive much recognition until the release of 1987's Hall Of The Mountain King, this album is where it all started. This is a thoroughly enjoyable release that deserves some recognition even though the band would go on to write material that far surpasses it. For me Savatage remains one of the most talented heavy metal bands to come out of the 80s still intact, and yet still one of the most under appreciated in my opinion. Sirens was an outstanding debut, delivering pure heavy metal power and really giving listeners a good, short-and-to-the-point taste of the music they would continue to produce for years to come.

Killing Songs :
Sirens, Holocaust, I Believe, On The Run, Out On The Streets
Khelek quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Savatage that we have reviewed:
Savatage - Gutter Ballet reviewed by Khelek and quoted 85 / 100
Savatage - Fight For The Rock reviewed by Khelek and quoted 68 / 100
Savatage - Power Of The Night reviewed by Khelek and quoted 92 / 100
Savatage - The Dungeons Are Calling reviewed by Khelek and quoted 90 / 100
Savatage - Hall of the Mountain King reviewed by Brent and quoted Classic
To see all 7 reviews click here
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