Florida's Savatage formed in 1979 and blazed a trail for heavy metal in the US during the 1980s and 1990s. Originally assembling as Avatar, the group—initially comprising brothers Jon Oliva (vocalist, keyboardist and bassist) and Criss Oliva (guitarist)—changed their name and their bassist (Ronald Leon Sisson took over in 1981) before the release of their scene-stealing 1983 debut album Sirens, which welcomed drummer Steve "Doc" Wacholz and went to number 16 in Germany, also unwittingly becoming a lodestar for the nascent thrash scene. The Dungeons Are Calling EP followed two years later, along with a signing to Atlantic Records. Thanks to the vision of producer Paul O'Neill, subsequent albums saw the band dial back the heaviness to create their own unique progressive metal sound. Cracking the US Billboard 200 for the first time, they scored a commercial breakthrough with their third album, 1986's Fight for the Rock—an LP largely detested by both fans and band members—while regaining the respect of the metal community with their next four albums: 1987's Hall of the Mountain King, 1989's Gutter Ballet, 1991's Streets: A Rock Opera—with Jon Oliva replaced by Zak Stevens on vocals the following year—and 1993's Edge of Thorns. On 17 October 1993, six months after the release of Edge of Thorns, guitarist Criss Oliva was killed in a car accident. Ghost in the Ruins – A Tribute to Criss Oliva was released in 1995 while Chris Cafferty and Al Pitrelli joined the band as guitarists, and Jeff Plate replaced Steve Wacholz on drums. Savatage's second rock opera, Dead Winter Dead, also appeared in 1995 and in 2000, Al Pitrelli quit the group to join Megadeth. Jon Oliva resumed vocal duties for 2002's Poets and Madmen, but the band temporarily closed the curtain on their career, announcing a hiatus that lasted until 2014. They played a one-off reunion show at Wacken Open Air in 2015 while in 2020 hinting that new music was on its way. Savatage confirmed their reunion in April 2023, with Curtain Call, their first studio album in 23 years, announced for release in 2024.

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