Chris Caffery, "W.A.R.P.E.D."
Savatage is finally back! Well, not really...but with the recent releases of a new Chris Caffery solo record and the re-issuance of Doctor Butcher's self-titled album (both through Black Lotus Records), at least Savatage fans can be entertained for a short while until the next Savatage album comes out (rumored to be in 2007).
Hot off the heels of Black Lotus' release of Faces just a few months prior, the label is releasing another collection of Caffery-penned songs, W.A.R.P.E.D., which is actually the continuation of the God Damn War album that accompanied Faces. Back then, it was just a nine-song bonus for fans, but now W.A.R.P.E.D. is a varied, 15-track disc with some killer tunes. Caffery handles all of W.A.R.P.E.D.'s vocal and guitar duties, while Savatage band mate Jeff Plate handles percussion in solid fashion. Throw in Doctor Butcher bassist Brian Gregory and there's some solid musicianship.
"Curtains" shows some definite Roger Waters-era Pink Floyd influence, while "Edge of Darkness" chugs along in fine fashion, reminiscent of Caffery's work in Savatage with a twist of classic rock thrown in. "State of the Head" sees Caffery sounding like a combination of Grave Digger's Chris Boltendahl and Zach Stevens, Savatage's former lead singer. "I" is another politically-charged rocker where Caffery tees off with strong support of the First Amendment. "Saddamize" and "Iraq Attack" are politically-motivated tunes, and they too revolve around the escalating tensions in and about Iraq, much like some of Doctor Butcher's (which Caffery and Savatage mainman Jon Oliva perform under) politically-themed songs. "Iraq Attack" was actually a Doctor Butcher song originally, but this (first-ever recorded version) still features a guest from Oliva on vocals. Meanwhile, "Erase" is a Caffery showcase: he shows off his chops and his songwriting potential minus his Savatage band mates.
W.A.R.P.E.D. will definitely be neat for Savatage fans. However, the rest of the metal world may not get as much of a kick out of it, as it flows very freely, utilizing a freeform approach to song structure, content, and cohesiveness. Songs like "God Damn War" and "Iraq Attack" though, are so good they should appeal to just about everybody who likes the traditional metal song. If you dig the hard rock / heavy metal sound of the traditional scene or Savatage's recent works, W.A.R.P.E.D. is right up your alley.