If Jon Oliva has proven one thing throughout his music career, it’s that he is never at a loss for storytelling through song. Jon Oliva’s Pain is just another amazing band that he has nurtured and built to stand the test of time. Festival is the newest release from Jon Oliva’s Pain, (released on April 13, 2010 in the U.S.). Festival is just that… a festival of songs that embody horror, nightmarish stories and the human experience.
If you are hankering for a new Heavy Metal album, that touches on some diverse musical material, while lending some dark themes lyrically, Festival should satisfy your palette. Need not worry though, this album delivers the hard and heavy that has grown on me considerably, which should do the same for any Jon Oliva’s Pain or Heavy Metal fan, in all likelihood. Jon Oliva is no stranger to atmospherics and chilling sound effects… Jon Oliva’s Pain delivers such mentioned on the opening track Festival. The chilling and carnival like sound effects open Festival, with spine curdling thunder storm atmospherics that explodes the creep-out meter.
“Death Rides A Black Horse” is a superior listen into a nightmare that engages with its epic and haunting keyboards. Without question, I cannot get “Death Rides A Black Horse” out of my mind ever since I first heard it, the atmospheric keyboards are what has captivated me so incredibly. This very easily can be the highlight song, that is played at the culmination of an epic horror film. “Eyes of hell burn in his eyes” are just a sampling of the lyrical content this song bestows… the grim reaper rides again through Jon Oliva’s Pain!
The one word that comes to mind while listening to Festival, is that these songs embody the integrity and substance of a man who knows how to write the utmost credible music and lyrics. Now has the sound and flavor of late 1970’s Electric Light Orchestra, while never leaving the threads of Jon Oliva’s Pain far behind.”Lies” upholds a Power Metal meets Traditional Heavy Metal union. Jon Oliva’s vocals on “Lies” reminds me of just how Heavy Metal vocals can pierce through a song with uncanny resonance.
“Looking For Nothing” has a Beatle-esque coating, the music speaks tranquility, all the while brandishing a 1970’s Classic Rock sword. “Living On The Edge” jumps out at me as a psyche-you-out song that straddles dark lyrics with an electrifying hardness. This dramatic song finds its incredible balance within its memorable melodies, caught between the speed and paced heaviness of the music itself.
To comment on the totality of musicianship I hear on Festival, the only way I can describe the credibility of this Jon Oliva’s Pain lineup, is to state, please take the time to buy Festival and listen for yourself… honestly, these guys are that great at what they do. If there is that one song on Festival, that exemplifies what I honestly mean here, it is “Winter Haven”. This song distinguishes itself amongst Festival as raising the music bar… and Jon Oliva’s Pain have succeeded in doing just that, in my Metal opinion.
Layered and textured are the songs throughout Festival, the ingredients and arrangements from a music mastermind in Jon Oliva comes through with heavy and soft results. I find both the heavy and soft sides of Festival, to be quite delectable for my music palette. This is a return to Old School form for Jon Oliva’s Pain, only it is presented with admirable conscientious care. If Jon Oliva set out to celebrate his interpretation of Heavy Metal, he has done so with Jon Oliva’s Pain and Festival… and I’m on board for this celebration.
Rating: Out of 10
01. Lies 6:18
02. Death Rides A Black Horse 5:28
03. Festival 4:22
04. Afterglow 6:50
05. Living On The Edge 5:10
06. Looking For Nothing 2:42
07. The Evil Within 4:36
08. Winter Haven 7:38
09. I Fear You 5:11
10. Now 3:51
Jon Oliva’s Pain is:
Jon Oliva – vocals, keyboards
Matt LaPorte – guitars
Tom McDyne – guitars
Kevin Rothney – bass
Christopher Kinder – drums