John Oliva's Pain
Jon Oliva's Pain - Maniacal Renderings - 2006 - AFM
|Track Listing1. Through The Eyes Of The King|
2. Maniacal Renderings
3. The Evil Beside You
4. Time To Die
5. The Answer
6. Push It To The Limit
7. Playing God
8. Timeless Flight
10. End Times
11. Still I Pray For You Now
My, my, my, Mr. Mountain King returns in glorious fashion. Jon Oliva (Savatage, Doctor Butcher) brings his newest venture to plate under Jon Oliva's Pain with "Maniacal Renderings". I still think the Pain part of the band name should simply be dropped but what do I know, I still eat fruit loops and watch "Thundercats". "Maniacal Renderings" is a triumphant return to the bare bones, heavy metal thunder that put Oliva on the metal map to begin with. The group's debut, '04's "Tage Mahal", was just simply terrible, recalling stale moments of Savatage's "Streets" and "Dead Winter Dead", all adding up to a pile of nothing attached to what amounts to be a recognizable name for traditional hopefuls. This new album absolutely obliterates any thoughts of the band's wasted debut, this one hungry to achieve the same sort of pounding attack made famous by 'Tage on "Sirens", "Power Of The Night", and "Hall Of The Mountain King". Does it measure up that sort of success? Yes...and no.
First off, five of these eleven songs absolutely smoke. Gone are the constant symphonic elements and the lackluster calming moments made famous by mid-era Savatage. No, the five cuts I mentioned blaze with molten metal iron, each possessing the most pulverizing of riffs and clever writing. "Through The Eyes Of The King" is like "Sirens" on steroids, an eruptive opening anthem that is punctuated with heavy guitar and Oliva's theatrical voice. "Push It To The Limit" is a freewheel burner, ripping with power chords and pierced with red hot leads from Matt Laporte and newly acquired Shane French. The two display some wicked grooves on the Doctor Butcher styled "Time To Die". Title track "Maniacal Renderings" begins with an up front bass line from Kevin Rothney before building into an explosive groove backed by Oliva and company's group choir. A few acoustic nods and piano begin the pounding metal hearted "The Evil Beside You", a song that winds up with fantastic leads in the mid-part.
The rest of the songs lean towards a more metallic sounding "Tage Mahal", with plenty of piano parts, progressive riffs, and acoustic elements. The best choice for the second half of tracks is "Playing God", a rather epic piece that is punctuated by big symphonic stylings. These songs are much better than the last record's material, but for me it just leaves something to be desired when compared to the heavier tracks that dominate the listening experience. Oliva is on fire all the way around, using his sadistic sounding lower voice and complimenting it with choir parts and his famous higher pitch wails.
Bottom Line - Fantastic first half, average second half. Overall makes for a really good second album and one that surpasses the first release in just about every category.