SAVATAGE's 'Japan Live '94' To Be Released On Vinyl For The First Time

June 21, 2024

For three years earMUSIC has been paying tribute to heavy metal legends SAVATAGE with the extensive re-release of their entire studio album back catalog on heavyweight, high-quality 12-inch LP. From "Sirens" (1983) to "Poets And Madmen" (2001),all studio albums returned on finest vinyl after having been sought after by fans and collectors for a long time.

In memory of Criss Oliva and to honor his legacy and his unmistakably unique work, SAVATAGE and earMUSIC celebrated the release of "Ghost In The Ruins" for the very first time on vinyl on October 27, 2023.

Now, with the first-time-ever-on-vinyl release of "Japan Live '94" on August 9, 2024, the exciting LP reissue journey comes to an end.

Like sonic snapshots, live albums memorialize and preserve amplified moments in time. For those in attendance, they allow the ability to relive an aural moment, and for the rest of us, it's the ultimate souvenir, a time-stamped milestone that captures an artist/a band as they were. In SAVATAGE's case, "Japan Live '94" captures a crucially important and significant tour for a band that, after experiencing gut-wrenching tragedy and massive personnel changes, was on undeniably shaky ground but stood tall, nonetheless. It was the first stop on a trip that ultimately forge onward to Sarajevo and Siberia — a journey that, 30 years later, has no end in sight.

This double LP release marks the first time in audio form that the show is available in its entirety with all 16 songs in show running order and all newly mastered for vinyl. The album is being reissued on heavyweight black vinyl, packed in a deluxe gatefold packaging with the original cover design, brand new liner notes by Clay Marshall and rare memorabilia.

In a 2023 interview with Sakis Fragos of Greece's Rock Hard, Jon Oliva confirmed that he is working on new music from SAVATAGE.

"This is gonna be the best album I ever made," the SAVATAGE vocalist promised. "Unless I kill myself. All I know is that the SAVA fans are gonna be fucking blown away when they hear this. They're gonna be blown away. I wasn't gonna do the SAVATAGE thing and just do a half-assed album. If I'm doing this album, it's gonna be the best album I've ever done. 'Cause when I go out, I wanna go out on top."

Zak Stevens joined SAVATAGE in 1992 as the replacement for Jon Oliva. Zak sang on four albums with the band — "Edge Of Thorns" (1993),"Handful Of Rain" (1994),"Dead Winter Dead" (1995) and "The Wake Of Magellan" (1997) — before departing in 2000, allowing Jon to return. Both Jon and Zak took part in SAVATAGE's 2015 performance at Wacken Open Air, which marked the band's first, and only so far, appearance on stage since they went on hiatus back in 2002.

SAVATAGE's last album release, "Poets And Madmen", in 2001 was highlighted by Jon's return as lead vocalist, replacing Zak, who left the band citing family reasons, and the departure of guitarist Al Pitrelli, who accepted an offer to join MEGADETH in 2000. Pitrelli did record solos for some songs prior to his departure. Another very limited U.S. tour followed, supported by FATES WARNING in the early shows, and then NEVERMORE for the remainder. Around this time, Jon chose Zak's replacement in the form of Damond Jiniya (DIET OF WORMS). Damond performed Zak's parts on tour, with Jon having an increased vocal role in proceedings.

In addition to his work with SAVATAGE, Oliva is well known for co-creating the classical music-meets-prog rock and pyro act TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA alongside the project's founder Paul O'Neill. Oliva has reportedly remained involved in TSO's activities even after O'Neill's April 2017 death of an accidental drug overdose.

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