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Artist of the Month, August 1998


H.E.A.R. recommends this summer you take a

Savatage Cruse and Party On!


So begins the journey aboard The Wake of Magellan, the ambitious new album from Savatage. Over a career spanning fourteen albums and countless live performances, Savatage has become, in the words of one reviewer, "a band of staggering power and limitless creativity." The Wake of Magellan, the band's ninth Atlantic release, is yet more proof that the cutting-edge band is firmly anchored at the forefront of the symphonic/progressive hard rock genre.

The Wake of Magellan is the band's most profound, adventurous, and inspired work to date. "Many people compare this album to Queen at their creative high," raves the German magazine Hammer, while Metal Edge confidently proclaims that The Wake of Magellan possesses "a sound so dynamic, it's without rival in today's musical spectrum." The public believes so as well, as the album reached #11 on the German Pop Chart.

The album intertwines the true stories of the Maersk Dubai, a Taiwanese freighter whose captain ordered three stowaways thrown overboard during a voyage, and Irish reporter Veronica Guerin, who was killed while fighting the growth in her country's drug trade. These events are combined into the story of an old Spanish sailor named Hector Del-Fuego Magellan, a character who, saddened because of recent events in his life, decides to end his life by sailing his boat into the open sea and await its sinking. Winds escort the sailor into the eye of a storm, and just when he believes death to be near, Magellan eyes a man drowning in the ocean. Instantly, the sailor recants his fatalistic wishes, fighting to save this man to whom he has been led by fate. After a struggle, the sailor is able to save the man, whom he later learns was a stowaway thrown overboard. Returning to land, the sailor realizes not only that life itself is precious, but that every second of life is as well.

With The Wake of Magellan, Savatage continues to expand its intellectual, thoughtful hard rock into uncharted territories. Characterized by haunting orchestrations and a distinctive melodic sense, the album showcases an enduring band with a flair for progressive experimentation that has never stopped advancing.

Originally known as Avatar, Savatage traces its roots back to 1981, when brothers and co-founders Jon and Criss Oliva took the Florida music scene by storm with their unique, inventive compositions. Rounded out by the formidable rhythm section of bassist Keith Collins and drummer Steve Wacholz, the group issued an independent EP, City Beneath the Surface, in 1983, a recording that instantly became a much sought-after classic.

Shortly after, the band became known as Savatage, and released the legendary Sirens LP. The band quickly followed with a fierce second EP, The Dungeons Are Calling. Through the strength of these recordings and the band's undeniably powerful live presence, Savatage was signed to Atlantic Records. In 1985, Savatage issued its major label debut, Power of the Night, a recording that brought the band worldwide acclaim and exposure.

In 1986, the band, having solidified its rhythm section with the addition of new bassist Johnny Lee Middleton, recorded Fight For The Rock. However, its successor, 1987's celebrated Hall of the Mountain King, brought the band to a higher level. This was the first collaboration between Savatage and producer Paul O'Neill, a partnership that would flourish over the years. The rich, progressive, and innovative qualities of this recording earned Savatage its highest praise to date.

With the release of the majestic Gutter Ballet in 1989, the band garnered even more acclaim, topping charts on such forums as MTV, CMJ, and Concrete's Foundations. This album introduced a more symphonic, orchestral nature to the band's sound, further evident on its much-lauded 1991 release, Streets: A Rock Opera. This was Savatage's first venture into the realm of the concept album, and did not go unnoticed, deemed "brilliant" by Hit Parader and "painfully beautiful" by the Chicago Tribune.

1993 saw the band issue the dynamic Edge of Thorns, the album that marked the introduction of vocalist Zachary Stevens. At the peak of its career, with the album's title track having received mass radio and video exposure, tragedy struck that same year, as guitarist Criss Oliva was tragically killed in an automobile accident. Inspired to continue in his memory, the band forged on, releasing the emotional, critically acclaimed Handful of Rain in 1994. This era also marked the addition of the innovative Jeff Plate on drums.

It wasn't until 1995, though, when Savatage definitively reintroduced itself to the world. Adding the duel-guitar attack of Christopher Caffery and Al Pitrelli, the band returned to the rock opera format, recording the powerful Dead Winter Dead. This album spawned the multi-format hit single, "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12-24," a track which topped radio charts across the country, and led to the creation of a side project known as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Founded by producer O'Neill, who brought on board long-time Savatage collaborator Robert Kinkel, as well as members of Savatage, the TSO released Christmas Eve and Other Stories in 1996, an album that achieved Gold status in 1997. Now featuring a solidified and revitalized line-up, Savatage has again turned to the rock opera. Released late last year to overwhelmingly glowing reviews overseas, The Wake of Magellan is now ready to set sail to American audiences.

The Wake of Magellan
Atlantic Records

Zachary Stevens - Lead Vocals
Johnny Lee Middleton - Bass
Jon Oliva - Lead & Backing Vocals, Keyboards
Jeff Plate - Drums
Al Pitrelli - Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Christopher Caffery - Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Lyrics and Album Production by Paul O'Neill

For more information, please contact:

Michael Mazur or Debbie Sellnow
Mazur Public Relations
Tel: (609) 426-1277
Fax: (609) 426-1217
E-mail: MazurPR@aol.com


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