Edge of Thorns is an album by Savatage, released in 1993 on Atlantic Records. It was the last album to contain the talents of the late guitarist Criss Oliva. It is also the first Savatage album to feature Zachary Stevens on lead vocals, following the departure of Jon Oliva from the fore of the band.
The drums on this album sound different from other Savatage records as Steve decided to use electronic drums. Although most of the drum kits sound authentic, a difference in the sonority of the toms can be heard.
The woman in the picture of the album art is Dawn Oliva, Criss Oliva's wife. Gary Smith, who also did the front and back covers for Hall of the Mountain King, the front cover for Gutter Ballet, the back cover for Streets, and all of Criss Oliva's airbrushed guitars, painted the cover. The face in the trees is supposed to be Jon Oliva, though producer Paul O'Neill disputes that despite its publication in a Criss Oliva interview from 1993. The cover is supposed to represent good (the woman) vs. evil (the face in the trees). According to Criss Oliva in a 1993 interview, "The girl is surrounded by fear and innocence. But the face in the trees is evil. Everything around her is evil. It's about good and evil. The songs on the CD reflect this, too."
The opening piano riff to the title track was used extensively in the MTV reality series The Real World: San Francisco during scenes involving the hospitalization of Pedro Zamora.
Sea of Tranquility reviewer Murat Batmaz defined the album as "completely different" from its predecessor, Streets: A Rock Opera. He mentioned that Edge of Thorns was more "guitar-driven" and praised guitarist Criss Oliva's performance in particular. Batmaz also gave a special mention to new vocalist Zak Stevens, noting that his vocals are "smooth, melodic and more accessible."
All songs written and composed by Criss Oliva, Jon Oliva and Paul O'Neill.
Original CD release
"Edge of Thorns"
"He Carves His Stone"
"Degrees of Sanity"
"All That I Bleed"
Original Japanese bonus tracks
1997 Edel Music CD reissue
"Believe" (Acoustic version)
2002 SPV CD reissue
"Conversation Piece" (Live In Rehearsal 9/24/94)
2010 EarMusic CD reissue bonus tracks
"All That I Bleed" (Acoustic version)
"If I Go Away" (Acoustic version)
Zachary Stevens - lead vocals,
Criss Oliva - guitars,
Johnny Lee Middleton - bass guitar,
Steve Wacholz - drums (electronic drums, studio only),
Jon Oliva - Piano, Keyboards (studio only), drums on tracks "He Carves His Stone" and "Degrees Of Sanity" ,
Andy James - drums (touring member only),
Wes Garren - rhythm guitar and keys - (touring member only)