Monday, September 1, 2008

Avatar (US) - City Beneath the Surface (Ep) (160)

Line-up :

Criss Oliva - Guitars
Jon Oliva - Vocals
Steve Wacholz - Drums
Keith Collins - Bass

The three songs included in this 7"EP will be rereleased when the band changed
its name into "Savatage": the A-side "City beneath the Surface" and the 2nd of
the B-side "The Whip" on the "Dungeons Are Calling" EP (1985, Combat Records)
while the B-side opener "Sirens" became the title-track of the first Savatage's
full length (1983, Par Records).

The very first 25 copies were printed in yellow vinyl and the remaining 975 in
black vinyl for a total amount of 1.000 copies pressed.

An early Jim Morris/Morrisound Studios effort.

Avatar is an early name of the band Savatage. When they first formed, they sometimes went under the name Metropolis. They recorded two songs, "Rock Me" and "Minus Love" for a compilation released by the 95YNF radio station, and played a show in a K-Mart parking lot to support the release.

Review :

“…to all our metal minded disciples who have backed us thru this perilous flight…”

Most Savatage fans know the name Avatar. It’s the same crew that would perform together since almost the beginning to the debut and some time beyond, the Oliva brothers the nucleus that would persevere up until ‘93’s Edge of Thorns lp when Criss would be killed by a jerky drunken driver.

While there are those that like to wave the prog pennant around Savatage’s sound, it’s always been a traditional trip more than anything, and even calling it power metal doesn’t bother me much.

A space age keyboard intro slides this early fragile Jim Morris/Morrisound Recording into motion, the title cut traveling along in a fine doom-edged mid-paced, yet jogs spryly in a “Jump in the Fire” fashion. From the first amputated scream, Jon Oliva’s vocals fly somewhere in the lower soprano/higher mid-tone that have been dragged on enough rocks to give it a rough heft. The most dangerous-sounding track is “Sirens” with its bursts of tingling, bell-rung peril and intrinsically ominous chorus, meanwhile following it is the much more energetic “The Whip”, a nimble dasher that runs past the debut and would be found next panting at the end of the band’s The Dungeons Are Calling ep.

It’s always easier to compare a 7” to another rather than to a full-lengther (for obvious reasons I think). For same year entrances to the masses, it’s a better representation of sound than Anthrax’s Soldiers of Metal, coincides more with the energy found on the band’s future debut than Venom’s In League With Satan, and can probably spar nicely with both Raven pre-Rock Until You Drop singles. Plus collectors don’t mind seeing it.

1.City Beneath The Surface05:33[view lyrics]
2.Sirens03:22[view lyrics]
3.The Whip03:16[view lyrics]
Total playing time12:11

Download Link

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