Oliva – “Raise The Curtain”

Oliva – “Raise The Curtain” (AFM Records)

It’s been 20 years since guitarist Criss Oliva passed away though his music has lived on thru his brother Jon (aka The Mountain King) both in Savatage and Jon Oliva’s Pain. This solo album, the first for the vocalist, contains the last of Criss’s music along with compositions of Jon’s friend Dan Fasciano. Together they have raised the curtain on this album and right off I’ll say that while containing prog elements, it is not an extension of both his prior bands being so much more! Pretty much handling all instruments (with assistance from Dan and Chris Kinder) Jon shows us his full measure from covering funky 70s rock in ‘Father Time’ to the theatrical rock of ‘Ten Years’ featuring trumpets – hell there’s even a 60s anti war ballad complete with hippy flute in ‘Soldier’ – although he won’t disappoint both new and old proggies with ‘Big Brother’ and especially the electric ‘The Witch’, my personal fave. It’s a very impressive effort indeed in further showcasing Jon’s talent as well as bringing closure to the talent of Criss. With Matt LaPorte’s (JOP guitarist) recent passing Jon once again faces a testing period and uncertain future but whatever the case, this solo album is yet another high point in his illustrious career.

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