Handful of Rain

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Handful of Rain
Studio album by Savatage
Released August 16, 1994
Genre Heavy metal
Progressive metal
Power metal
Length 49:03
Label Atlantic/Wea
Producer Jon Oliva
Paul O'Neill
Savatage chronology
Edge of Thorns
Handful of Rain
Chance EP
Singles from Handful of Rain
  1. "Handful of Rain"
    Released: 1994
  2. "Chance"
    Released: 1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [1]

Handful of Rain is a heavy metal album by Savatage that was released in 1994. The first album since the death of their lead guitarist, Criss Oliva, the music is often dark in reflection of brother Jon Oliva's loss.

The title track was originally released as an abridged version, missing its second verse. Some editions of the album (for instance, the "Rock Masters" version released on the iTunes Store) include the omitted piece, referred to by the band and fans alike as "The Barmaid Verse". "Chance" is about Chiune Sugihara,[2] a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania during World War II who defied government orders by signing exit visas for thousands of Jewish refugees. "Castles Burning" is about Giovanni Falcone,[2] an Italian magistrate killed by the mafia in 1992. "Alone You Breathe" is a tribute to Criss which reuses the chord progression (albeit in a different key) and lyrics from the Streets song "Believe" in its long coda, and also part of the ending chorus in the Gutter Ballet song "When The Crowds Are Gone", although the lyrics do not mirror his death and the songs are not literally about him. The tour in support of this album was documented in the live release, Japan Live '94, which was released in 1995.

The album also marks the first time Savatage would write a trademark vocal canon in a song. The third section of "Chance" has at one point, five overdubbed vocals from singer Zak Stevens.[2]

Track listing[edit]

Original CD release
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Taunting Cobras"   Jon Oliva 3:21
2. "Handful of Rain"   Jon Oliva 5:01
3. "Chance"   Jon Oliva, Paul O'Neill 7:50
4. "Stare Into the Sun"   Jon Oliva, Paul O'Neill 4:43
5. "Castles Burning"   Jon Oliva 4:39
6. "Visions" (Instrumental) Criss Oliva, Jon Oliva 1:25
7. "Watching You Fall"   Jon Oliva 5:20
8. "Nothing's Going On"   Jon Oliva, Paul O'Neill 4:09
9. "Symmetry"   Jon Oliva, Paul O'Neill 5:04
10. "Alone You Breathe"   Jon Oliva, Paul O'Neill 7:30


Due to the shake-up in the band following Criss's death, the line-ups were somewhat unclear at the time. Drummer Steve Wacholz left the band and did not play on the album, but he is pictured in the album to maintain a more "classic" Savatage line-up. Bassist Middleton was apparently still too much in shock about Criss to go into the studio, but he did do the tour for the album. Jeff Plate did not play the drums on the album, but was pictured as part of the band line-up in one edition of the album. Plate would become a full-fledged member of the band by the time of their next release, Dead Winter Dead in 1995.[2]
For the recording of the album, Jon Oliva ended up going into the studio, accompanied by producer, co-writer and co-lyricist Paul O'Neill, and recorded all of the instrumental parts(keys, rhythm guitars, bass, drums) by himself. The pair then enlisted former Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick to record guitar solos, and subsequently contacted vocalist Zak Stevens to record the vocal parts for the album.

Credited line-up[edit]

Actual line-up[edit]

Touring line-up[edit]


  1. ^ Handful of Rain at AllMusic
  2. ^ a b c d "Savatage FAQ, Section 2 - The Albums, Part 2". Savatage.com. Retrieved 2008-05-16.