Jon Oliva's Pain - Global Warning
AFM Records
Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
13 songs (60'30)
Release year: 2008
Jon Oliva's Pain, AFM Records
Reviewed by Marty
Album of the month
Jon Oliva's Pain returns with their third album and once again, Jon dips back into the "vaults" so to speak to his many "riff tapes" that he and brother Criss Oliva had made many years back before Criss' untimely death back in 1993. The last album Maniacal Renderings was the first album to benefit from these long lost snippets of the Oliva brothers legacy and right away, the move towards a more classic Savatage based sound was very evident. With this new album entitled Global Warning, Jon delivers an album that is much more like 'Tage Mahal in that it is a lot less "metal" in nature yet delivers some of the best heartfelt and emotional vocals that he has ever done. Global Warning is not necessarily a concept album yet it deals with the state of the world we live in socially, economically and environmentally in assessing the physical damage we are inflicting upon this fragile planet of ours. Whereas Maniacal Renderings had more of an older Savatage feel, much of Global Warning brings me back to the best era of the band as far as I'm concerned and that is the Gutter Ballet and Streets (A Rock Opera) albums.

The title track gets things underway in a very theatrical sense with orchestrations and the classic Savatage drama in a song that blends big booming guitar riffs with classic 70's era Hammond organ in a retro Kansas sort of way. The Queen-like twin guitar harmonies in this track make many appearances throughout this album and in an unusual arrangement; the vocals don't start until about the last minute of the song. Look At The World with it's bouncy Supertramp type of feel is one of many tracks on Global Warning that although are certainly not heavy metal, highlight just how brilliant a song writer Jon Oliva truly is. His voice is stronger than ever and he holds notes higher and stronger than he ever could before. Other tracks in the same vein include the massive epic Firefly where it builds in intensity with amazing emotion in Jon's voice. The horrors and the human costs of war are examined with an arrangement that shows Jon's love for the music of The Beatles. In one of the best tracks that he has ever written, his soaring voice, big crescendo ending complete with screaming vocals is Jon's Hey Jude. The Ride mixes Led Zeppelin like acoustic layered sounds with heavier riffs for the choruses with yet another strong vocal performance from Jon. O To G is a touching yet brief piano/voice ode to loved ones lost before Upon The Water graces our ears with it's great classic rock feel. Jon examines his own spirituality here with an amazing track that features a huge Believe (Streets album) type of chorus. Open Your Eyes is an emotional power ballad that once again shows Jon's voice being stronger than ever with the final track Someone/Souls being another very reflective and moving split track mainly consisting of just Jon and his piano.

Getting to the more "metal" side of things, Adding The Cost gives us a more up-tempo Poets And Madmen type of track with Before I Hang sounding downright nasty indeed! Written from the perspective of a Middle Eastern terrorist, the angry and nasty tone comes from Jon's scalding rasp of a voice in a track that musically sounds like something left over from the Streets era. Master gives us a surprisingly funky and almost *gulp* danceable track that uses heavy riffs and synthesized voices to mimic the voice of the "darker" side that tempts us in everyday life. Both Stories and You Never Know are big riff driven Savatage like tracks that really live up to the very high standards that both Jon and his fans expect to hear.

This album might surprise a few. It took a couple of listens to really see what Jon was trying to accomplish here. Going from the very heavy Maniacal Renderings to this lighter edged almost classic rock like album was a bit of a surprise. What really becomes evident is that although there are about 4 really solid heavy metal tracks, they're not necessarily the best tracks on the album. The songs where Jon gets very personal, emotional and bears his soul for all to see are the ones that make this album truly special. Time will tell but a couple of tracks rank right up there with songs like Believe and Alone You Breathe in being some of the best that he's ever written. Much like the Streets album, Jon's spirituality is front and center and with the undying spirit of his brother Criss flowing through this album, fans of Jon's work are in for a real treat and easily the best solo album he has done so far.

Killing Songs :
Look At The World, Adding The Cost, Firefly, Upon The Water and Open Your Eyes
Marty quoted 93 / 100
Aleksie quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Jon Oliva's Pain that we have reviewed:
Jon Oliva's Pain - Festival reviewed by Marty and quoted 86 / 100
Jon Oliva's Pain - Maniacal Renderings reviewed by Marty and quoted 90 / 100
Jon Oliva's Pain - Straight Jacket Memoirs reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Jon Oliva's Pain - 'Tage Mahal reviewed by Brent and quoted 90 / 100
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