Savatage: Handful of Rain [1994]

Released August 16, 1994
Genre Heavy metal
Progressive metal
Length 49:03
Label Atlantic/Wea
Producer Jon Oliva
Paul O’Neill

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 aboutChiune 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.

Track listing

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

Lyrics

1. Taunting Cobras

Hey You
She’s gonna get you
If you go walking by this corner slow
Don’t think she’s gonna let you leave
Just because you want to go

Boy you ain’t seen nothin’ yet
It’s a long train of regret
Puppets get no second chance
Pull that string they gotta dance

Parallel addiction is a double crucifixion
When your always out there feeding your head
Always channel surfing cause your brain it isn’t working
When you’re looking at that moment just remember

Don’t look
Don’t stray
Don’t talk it over
No time
No way
Listen to me I’m cold sober
You’re just out there taunting Cobras

Hey you
Who’s gonna warn you
When it’s something you don’t want to know
Don’t think
It won’t deform you
Twist your mind then let it go

Boy you ain’t seen nothin’ yet
It’s a long train of regret
Puppets get no second chance
Pull that strings they gotta dance

Welcome to the prison
Let me tell ya what you’re missing
I’ve been coming here for nearly a year
Out there was my corner
’til I came in for a water
Mixed with Whiskey
And a chaser of sideway glances

Don’t look
Don’t stray
Don’t talk it over
No time
No way
Listen to me I’m cold sober
You’re just out there taunting Cobras

2. Handful Of Rain

The night is growing dark
From somewhere deep within
It shelters like an ark
That always takes you in

The barmaid walks on over
And pours another round
For a lost soul at the corner
Who prays he’s never found

And the mind goes numb
Until it’s feeling no pain
And the soul cries out
For a handful of rain

Wash your women
In your Whiskey
When your future’s
In the past
And your staring
Up at heaven
From the bottom
Of a glass
And you need some insulation
From the years you’ve
Had and lost
And you feel the perspiration
As you’re adding up the cost

And the night rolls on
Like a slow moving train
And the soul cries out

There’s a land beyond the living
There’s a land beyond the dead
If it’s true that God’s forgiving
Of the lives that we had led
In the distance there’s a thunder
And the air is thick and warm
And the patrons watch with wonder
The approaching of the storm

And the night rolls on
Like a slow moving train
And the soul cries out
For a handful of rain

There’s an old man in the corner
And he’s smoking all the time
An the smoke is drifting upward and it’s
Twisting in my
Twisting in my
Mind
In my mind

The whiskey’s getting deeper
And I use it like a moat
There’s a blues man in the distance and he’s
Lost inside his
Note
His note

The night is growing dark
From somewhere deep within
It shelters like an ark
That always takes you in

And the night rolls on
Like a slow moving train
And the soul cries out
For an handful of rain

3. Chance

He was standing all alone
Trying to find the words to say
When every prayer he ever prayed
Was gone
And the dreams he’s never owned
Are still safely tucked away
Until tomorrow he just
Carries on

See the Devil in the streets at night
See him running in the pouring rain
See him grinning ‘neath a twisted light
I’ll be back again
See the people standing in a row
See them nodding like a field of grain
No one sees the sickle though
Coming ‘cross the plain

And this he knows if nothing more
That waiting in the dark like destiny
Are those who kissed the dogs of war
And there is no tomorrow
No tomorrow
Take a chance
Take a chance

See the Devil he is so intense
See the Devil go and change his name
What’s the going price of innocence
It can’t be the same
Is it dark when the moon is down
Is it dark with a single flame
If there’s glass falling all all around
I am not to blame
And this he knows if nothing more

That waiting in the dark like destiny
Are those who kissed the dogs of war
And there is no tomorrow
No tomorrow
Take a chance

Burn the night away

Pictures at an exhibition
Played as he stood his trance
Staring at his inhibitions
All the time believing
That it now came down to nothing but this chance

I fear you
Your silence
Your blindless
See what you want to see
In darkness
One kindness
One moment
Tell me what you believe

I believe in nothing
Never really had to
In regards to your life
Rumors that are not true
Who’s defending evil
Surely never I
Who would be the witness
Should you chance to die

Father can you hear me
This is not how was meant to be
I am safe and so are you
As for the others destiny

I believe that situations
All depend on circumstance

Look away
Look away

Pictures at an exhibition
Played as he stood in his trance
Staring at his inhibitions
All the time believing
That it now came down to
Nothing but this chance

4. Stare Into The Sun

He never closed his eyes
Or so we theorized
But we were young and bold
And he was mostly old
And his time nearly done

He came back from a war
On some forgotten shore
And sat and watched the world
And never said a word
And so I asked for one

Watching waiting
Old man tell me what have we become
Anticipating
All the hating that was yet undone
He turned around and stared into the sun

He fought for things so clear
And never thought he’d fear
A brother or his child
Or killing having style
Watch the colors run

Watching waiting
Old man tell me what have we become
Anticipating
All the hating that was yet undone
He turned around and stared into the sun

And now he only hears
And his eyes they only tear
So tread most carefully
For he’s still listening
Watch the colors run

Watching waiting
Old man tell me what have we become
Anticipating
All the hating hat was yet undone
He turned around and stared into the sun

5. Castles Burning

In the dark and bleeding
With the shadows seething
There he stands alone

Fools and faith conspire
Questions of desire
That they never owned

Kings without their armor
Men without their honor
Spit out desecration
Pieces of a nation
Buried in the ground
Screams without a sound
Burn the castle down

In the end the children cried
That the jackal surely lied
When he said please listen all
Do not look behind these walls

Coffins drowned in roses
And the war he chose is
Fought inside the mind
Death becomes compelling
When the soul’s for selling
And the world is blind

In the maze he wanders
Looks about and ponders
Shadows mock and taunt him
And the ghosts that haunt him
Chain him to the ground
Screams without a sound
Burn the castle down

In the end the children cried
That the jackal surely lied
When said please listen all
Do not look behind these walls

And does the pendulum toll
Against the side of he soul
When if feels the final moment is near

Do you rage against the dark
Try to re-write the part
Turn around and face what you fear
What you fear

He’s seen it all before
Close your eyes and close the door
And the dreams that nights embrace
Slowly leave behind a trace

6. Visions

[Instrumental]

7. Watching You Fall

There
In the dark
There’s a child and she’s waiting
Lost in the maze of a fate accompli
Is it a crime to be just hesitating
While we’re pretending that we never see

On a TV mounted on the wall
From this distance I can see it all
And I’ve been out here
Watching you
Watching you fall

Is there a trick to the art of not feeling
Safe in our world while another’s child bleeds
Praying that God won’t demand a redealing
Of cards we have held and pretend you don’t need

On a TV mounted on the wall
From this distance I can see it all
And I’ve been out here
Watching you
Watching you fall

Better not think about it
In time we’ll start to doubt it
Christ has risen
Keep him hidden
God forbid he sees

It’s not that we lack the vision
Only just a quick decision
Who will blame us
Rules restrain us
It’s all in history

So close my eyes and pretend I am sleeping
Avoiding the chance that you’ll visit my dreams

On a TV mounted on the wall
From this distance I can see it all
And I’ve been out here
Watching you fall

8. Nothing’s Going On

Cheshire cat
Done rip your soul
Don’t turn your back
Don’t turn your back

Car rolls by
Move real slow
Fade it to black
Fade it to black

But nothings going on
Nothings going on

Twisted nerves
On shifting feet
Taking up slack
Taking up slack

Gone too far
Can’t retreat
Cover you tracks
Cover you tracks

Nothings going on

She’s no queen of hearts
But she’s good to me
Bring her coffin roses
Brush her thorns
Let it bleed

Just a hardcore dancer
Puppet on a string
One crippled romancer
Strung so tight
Gotta watch her swing

Nothings going on

9. Symmetry

So would you tell me now
Are life and death a symmetry
Balanced on scales
Neither side chosen
And could these moments
Balance out against eternity
Promise inferred
Words never spoken

My life is burning
Could you read by the light
Letters I’ve written
Never to follow
Poets and madmen
All defy reason
Still in my mind I know

I want to live my life with you
Dying hard
Play my whole hand until it’s through
Dying hard

And in your arctic night
You contemplate eternity
Walking on water
Frozen in silence
And in that moment would you
Turn around and turn to me
Laughing away night’s darker tyrants

My life is burning
Could you read by the light
Letters I’ve written
Never to follow
Poets and madmen
All defy reason
Still in my mind I know

I want to live my life with you
Dying hard
Play in my whole hand until it’s through
Dying hard

Some nights I spend alone inside my head
But it’s better than losing it
And if you want to turn your life around
It’s your life you’re choosing it

I want to spend my life with you
Dying hard
Play the whole hand until it’s through
Dying hard

10. Alone You Breathe

You were never one for waiting
Still I always thought you’d wait for me
Have you from your dream awakened
And from where you are what do you see

Which of us is now in exile
Which in need of amnesty
Are you now but an illusion
In my mind alone you breathe

You believed in things that I will never know
You were out there drowning but it never showed
‘Til inside a rain swept night you just let go

You’re thrown it all away
And now we’ll never see
The ending of the play
The grand design
The final line
And what was meant to be

In the dark a distant runner
Now has disappeared into the night
Leaving us to stand and wonder
Staring from this end into your life

You believed in things that I will never know
You were out there drowning but it never showed
‘Til inside a rain swept night you just let go

You’ve thrown it all away
And now we’ll never see
The ending of the play
The grand design
The final line
And what was meant to be

And if this is all illusion
Nothing more than pure delusion
Clinging to a fading fantasy

Like Icarus who heeds the calling
Of a sun but now is falling
As the feathers of his life fall free
Can you see
See

Tomorrow
And after
You tell me what am I to do
I stand here
Believing
That in the dark
There is a clue

Perhaps inside
This midnight sky
Perhaps tomorrow’s new born eyes
Or could it be
We’ll never know
And after all
This was the show

What am I to do

Gotta get back
Gotta get back
Gotta get back

What am I to do

Gotta get back
Gotta get back
Gotta get back

What am I to do

Standing on a dream
Isn’t what it seems
Could we then reclaim a dream refused
Knowing what we know
Could we let it go
Realizing that all the years are used

Tomorrow and after
You tell me what am I to do
I stand here believing
That in the dark there is a clue
I am the way
I am the light
I am the dark inside the night
I hear your hopes
I feel your dreams
And in the dark I hear your screams

Tomorrow and after
You tell me what am I to do
I stand here believing
That in the dark there is a clue

11. Somewhere in Time / Alone You Breathe (Acoustic Version)

[bonus track]

[Written by Jon Oliva, Paul O’Neill]

So what can I tell you
If life’s the length of this play
Perhaps God gave the answers
To those with nothing to say

The years are forgiven
If God’s forgiving and kind
Perhaps we’ll all find the answers
Somewhere in time
Somewhere in …

You were never one for waiting
Still I always thought you’d wait for me
And have you from your dreams awakened
And from where you are what do you see

Which of us is now in exile
Which in need of amnesty
Are you now but an illusion
In my mind alone you breathe

You believed in things that I will never know
You were out there drowning but it never showed
Till inside a rainswept night you just let go

You’ve thrown it all away
And now we’ll never see the ending to the play
The grand design, the final line
And what was meant to be

In the dark a distant runner
Now has disappeared into the night
Leaving us to stand and wonder
Staring from this end into your life

You believed in things that I will never know
You were out there drowning but it never showed
‘Til inside a rainswept night you just let go

You’ve thrown it all away
And now we’ll never see the ending to the play
The grand design, the final line
And what was meant to be

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