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Album Review: "Gutter Ballet" by American Heavy Metal Band Savatage

Updated on November 1, 2023
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

A Ballet Dancer Representing What is on the Cover for the Album "Gutter Ballet"


About the Album Gutter Ballet and What is on the Cover

American heavy metal band Savatage entered 1989 on a very high note coming off of their excellent album Hall of the Mountain King. Their 1989 album called Gutter Ballet is another very good album but could it match what came before it? We shall find out as you all take this musical journey through an album that is now over 30 years old. The album’s cover shows the shadow of a ballet dancer dancing in a large hall where there is a piano and a guitar and there are also those kinds of stairs that we would see in a high-class hotel. Certainly, there is more to this album than just being your standard heavy metal album. The inspiration for this album came from when Jon Oliva watched The Phantom of the Opera.

Of Rage and War is a Solid Way to Start off the Album Gutter Ballet

The first song called Of Rage and War starts with a bass guitar part which gives way to a good mid-tempo heavy metal song. The song lyrically is very much of a pro-war song because the song questions what is going on in the Middle East because at that time, Lebanon was involved in its civil war and the song’s message is that hostile foreign powers should abandon their need to have all of these missiles which they could use against other countries. The song is also trying to send the message discouraging attempts by foreign diplomats to negotiate because negotiation is seen as an act of political suicide. However, world peace is always a better alternative to starting a war that we cannot win. The song’s beginning features the sound of a helicopter flying overhead. Lyrically, the song is similar to the song "Set the World on Fire." Politics is often a tricky, corrupt, and sometimes deadly business where tough decisions have to be made.

"Of Rage and War"

Analysis of the Songs Gutter Ballet, Temptation Revelation, When the Crowds are Gone, and Silk and Steel

The song Gutter Ballet has a sort of Black Sabbath influence as the piano and the vocals of Jon Oliva complement the guitars. Temptation Revelation is the first of two instrumental songs in this album and it has guitar playing that Jason Becker would be proud of! When the Crowds are Gone is a song that once again shows the influence of the piano playing so in a way, this could be considered a power ballad. There are musicians in this world that have survived the tumultuous nature of life itself and they will continue playing until the lights are turned out, until they can no longer physically perform. Silk and Steel is the second instrumental song in Gutter Ballet and this one has exclusively jazz and blues influenced acoustic guitar.

The Importance of the Song "She's In Love"

And then comes… my favorite song in the album or at least one of my favorite songs in this album called She’s in Love as the atmosphere slowly develops into a fast rock song about a woman that loves and appreciates life to the fullest as she licks her lips in delight. She is definitely in love with life as the lyrics suggest and point out.

"She's in Love"

How is the Rest of the Album Gutter Ballet?

Hounds is a Judas Priest influenced song that is about these hounds or creatures that howl throughout the night into the morning and these hounds can also be dangerous to humans. Do you hear them as they call? The album’s title Gutter Ballet was finally agreed upon because producer Paul O’ Neill had written a play ten years before that had the same title. Thorazine Shuffle starts with some laughing sounds and it is a song about a person that is locked up in a mental institution because he suffers from schizophrenia. He is fed every day at four in the afternoon and at 8PM he has to go back into his cell or room.

Is Gutter Ballet a better album than Hall of the Mountain King? It is a tough and close call but I would tend to say that the album before this one is slightly better.

Rate the Album Gutter Ballet by Savatage

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Savatage Gutter Ballet

"The Unholy"

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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