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The Dungeons Are Calling

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Album Review

A much heavier effort than the preceding Sirens (although recorded at the same sessions), The Dungeons Are Calling was a less diverse, if more cohesive statement. The title track opens the album with haunting vocals and eerie guitar, soon erupting into one of the group's most intense anthems. "By the Grace of the Witch," the following song, is another fist-pumping number with an unshakable rhythm. It was on this album that the group first really started using synthesizers, and while none of the songs are driven by the instrument, they are used to nice effect on the title track and "City Beneath the Surface." It was in the lyrics, however, that the greatest difference was heard between The Dungeons Are Calling and Sirens. Here, almost all the songs are firmly entrenched in dark fantasy tales of hell, witches, and knights. "The Whip," the one exception, is an almost throwaway S&M number that does not show the band at their best. Although these topics might seem quite dated to many modern listeners, with the thundering guitar and rhythm section on such tracks as "Midas Knight" and "City Beneath the Surface," it's easy just to get lost in the blinding music.


Formed: 1983 in Florida

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Savatage formed in Florida in 1978 as Avatar, led by brothers Jon (vocals) and Criss (guitar) Oliva. They changed their name to Savatage in 1983, pursuing a strongly Judas Priest- and Iron Maiden-influenced style of metal. Their other members included Steve "Doc" Wacholz (drums) and Keith Collins (bass), who was later replaced by Johnny Lee Middleton. They meandered between basic metal and more commercial fare before adding second guitarist Chris Caffery and hitting their stride in 1990 with Gutter...
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