Savatage - The Dungeons Are Calling. 1984 USA
LP issues: 1985 Music For Nations (UK); 1985 Banzai (Canada)
Select CD reissues: 1994 Metal Blade; 2002 Metal Blade (Silver Anniversary)
The Dungeons are Calling is Savatage's second effort, and is a blistering set of 6 traditional metal tunes. Easily Savatage's heaviest album, I would have to disagree this constitutes nothing more than leftovers. There are 3 absolute monster tracks here: 'City Beneath the Surface' sounds like Sabbath's Sabotage album taken to the 3rd power. The title track and 'By the Grace of the Witch' are crushingly heavy, but also melodic and memorable. Jon Oliva is really belting them out here with the best of them. And brother Criss' guitar sound is exactly it. Even the weaker tracks are no slouches. 'Visions' sounds like many a Mausoleum type European rumbler, while 'The Whip' could have been lifted straight from Judas Priest's Defenders of the Faith session.
I bought the original Combat EP soon after release, and have managed to pick up two CD reissues in addition (the 94 release, and the Silver Edition). Each have bonus tracks unique to the release, though it could be argued that none reach the highs of the EP proper. If forced to choose, I'd take the Silver Edition.