Savatage release Hall of the Mountain King
Hall of the Mountain King is an album by the progressive metal group Savatage, released in 1987 under the direction of Paul O'Neill.
It is their first album produced by O'Neill, who was assigned to the band after their previous tour. This album shows the beginning of their progressive tendencies as they explore new forms of expression in their music. Many fans consider this album the original turning point in their musical identity, distinguishing between the old and new Savatage. As their first concept album, it has a constant tone (of darkness, in this case) and is more complex than their previous albums, with two entirely instrumental tracks that go beyond simple guitar riffs and solos, namely "Prelude to Madness" and "Last Dawn". Through Paul O'Neill's connections, he brought in Ray Gillen of Badlands fame to perform a vocal duet at the end of "Strange Wings".
"Prelude to Madness" is an arrangement of Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt suite. Oddly, Grieg is not credited for this song, but for the following title track - which ironically, is an original song. The intro of "Prelude to Madness" features keyboards and guitar playing "Mars, the Bringer of War" from Gustav Holst's suite, The Planets.
This was the first album to feature the album cover drawn by artist Gary Smith, who was responsible for lead guitarist Criss Oliva's airbrushed guitars at the time.