Gutter Ballet

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Gutter Ballet
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 1, 1989
RecordedFebruary–July 1989
StudioRecord Plant in New York City
ProducerPaul O'Neill
Savatage chronology
Hall of the Mountain King
Gutter Ballet
Streets: A Rock Opera
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal7/10[2]
Rock Hard10/10[3]

Gutter Ballet is the fifth full-length album produced by the American progressive metal band Savatage. This was the second album created under the direction of producer Paul O'Neill and was initially released in December 1, 1989.


This album was a true turning point for the band, for after Jon Oliva watched Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera in Toronto, he decided to change the sound of the band, from a heavy metal to a more progressive sound, which is reflected in songs such as "When the Crowds Are Gone" and "Gutter Ballet". Gutter Ballet is not a concept album, but the final three songs ("Mentally Yours", "Summer's Rain", "Thorazine Shuffle") are a conceptual suite dealing with a single character as revealed by the band in interviews.

The original title for the record was Temptation Revelation, but this was changed to Hounds of Zaroff which was a Steve Wacholz suggestion. As late as May 1989, the eventual title track of the album had not been written and the band was having doubts surrounding the album title. The title Gutter Ballet finally came from that of a play producer Paul O'Neill had written ten years earlier and which would later make-up the majority of the band's next work, Streets. The song "Gutter Ballet" was written with just O'Neill, Jon and Criss Oliva in the studio. Jon's drumming skill was competent enough to perform on the track and he also provided the bass guitar duties for the track. Had the band originally stuck with the story set-out in Paul O'Neill's original 1979 story, the song "When the Crowds Are Gone" would have followed Streets track "A Little Too Far".[4]

On the original cassette and CD releases, "Thorazine Shuffle" was a bonus track.

Two videos from the album entered rotation on MTV, "Gutter Ballet" (filmed at the beginning of 1990 in New York)[5] and "When the Crowds Are Gone". The former track became a staple of Headbangers Ball and as a result, both Jon Oliva and Chris Caffery were invited to join host Riki Rachtman for an interview in 1990.[6]

Many additional songs already written, before the decision of the change of style, were unused and subsequently published as bonus tracks, in the Sirens and The Dungeons Are Calling 2002 Silver reissues,[7][8] some of them were also re-worked and published by Jon Oliva's Pain.

Paul O'Neill was planning a theatrical release under the Trans-Siberian Orchestra name, titled Gutter Ballet, including Savatage's music from this album and from Streets: A Rock Opera.[9]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Criss Oliva, Jon Oliva and Paul O'Neill, except "Silk and Steel" by C. Oliva and Paul Silver.

1."Of Rage and War"4:47
2."Gutter Ballet"6:20
3."Temptation Revelation" (instrumental)2:56
4."When the Crowds Are Gone"5:45
5."Silk and Steel" (instrumental)2:56
6."She's in Love"3:51
8."The Unholy"4:37
9."Mentally Yours"5:19
10."Summer's Rain"4:33
11."Thorazine Shuffle"4:43



Note: Chris Caffery doesn't play on the album but he was credited with guitars and keyboards and is pictured in the album's booklet "both to prepare the fans for the line-up they'd see on tour and confirm his permanent member status".[4]

Additional musicians
  • Robert Kinkel – keyboards
  • John Dittmar, Stephen Daggett, Jerry Van Deilen, Dan Campbell – background shouts and laughs
  • Paul O'Neill – producer, arrangements with Savatage
  • James A. Ball, Joe Henahan – engineers
  • Teddy Trewalla, Deek Venarchick, Jay DeVito, Dave Parla – assistant engineers
  • Dan Campbell – studio technician
  • Jack Skinner – mastering at EuropaDisc, New York
  • Gary Smith – cover art
  • Dennis Osborne – photography


Year Chart Position
1990 German Albums Chart[10] 47
Dutch MegaCharts[11] 84
Billboard 200 (US)[12] 124


  1. ^ Orens, Geoff. "Savatage - Gutter Ballet review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  2. ^ Popoff, Martin (November 1, 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. pp. 313–314. ISBN 978-1894959315.
  3. ^ Kühnemund, Götz (1989). "Review Album Des Monats: Savatage - Gutter Ballet". Rock Hard (in German). No. 37. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Jon, Oliva (2011). Streets: A Rock Opera (CD Booklet). Savatage. Hamburg, Germany: Edel AG. 0204062ERE.
  5. ^ Clay, Marshall (2002). Gutter Ballet (CD Booklet). Savatage. Hannover, Germany: SPV GmbH. SPV 076-74032.
  6. ^ "Savatage: Headbangers Ball". YouTube. June 23, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "Discography: Sirens". Savatage Official Website. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  8. ^ "Discography: The Dungeons Are Calling". Savatage Official Website. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  9. ^ "Savatage: 'Streets: A Rock Opera' Narrated Version Reissue Detailed". August 13, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  10. ^ "Album – Savatage, Gutter Ballet". (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  11. ^ "Savatage - Gutter Ballet". (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  12. ^ "Savatage Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved April 3, 2018.