Avalon


Mystic Places

Avalon - Mystic Places ©1997 Omega Records
1. Mystic Places
2. I'm Falling
3. Passion For Glory
4. Crystal Ball
5. Through The Eye Of The End
6. Prisoner Of My Mind
7. Two Mental
8. Time For The Universe
9. Wasted Time
10. Burning Down The House
11. Isolation
12. Blind Dance

Avalon's sophomore effort is a solid power progressive metal offering. The disc has a sound similar to recent Iced Earth with bit more progressive leaning. The melodies are catchy and the play is technical. But this isn't just a superficial sing-along cheese metal album. There are many layers to the sound in the background. The big choruses and catchy melodies are only the surface of a very rich sound. Some might complain about the singer who has a gravelly baritone-pushing-tenor voice. Given the tenor of the songs and the atmosphere of the music, his voice fits well into the songs. I found his voice an enjoyable change from the usual shrieking stratospheric vocalists who seem to populate many bands. However, I guess the criticism of his singing style on this disc hit home with the band since he has been replaced on the subsequent albums.The disc features a rich sound that will please most fans of progressive power metal. Lots of double-bass runs and swirling guitars and walls of keys with great production. An unusual note is that Avalon sports a female bassist. She adds a nice touch to the band as a whole and lays down a superb bass line. Fans of Gamma Ray and Blind Guardian will enjoy this release from Avalon.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 09/2000

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Vision Eden

Avalon - Vision Eden ©1998 Omega Records
1. They Are In Between Us
2. Children Of War
3. Lord Of Dignity
4. Fate Of Centuries
5. Age Of Salvation
6. Dancing With The Devil
7. The Road To Eden
8. Far Away
9. Gene Genius
10. Solitune

This third disc from The Scorpions . . . oh, I mean Avalon, is a step forward from Mystic Places. One of the most immediately noticeable changes is the vocalist. Chitral Somapala is his name, though you'd swear it was Klaus Meine from Scorpions. There are a lot of Geoff Tate clones singing on progressive metal discs, but this is the first Klaus klone I've encountered. As clones go, he is a dead ringer.

Avalon still play a progressive power metal that is fun to listen to with big choruses for singing along. The songs on this disc are a bit more involved than those on the first two discs adding some depth to an already rich sound. The added elements move their sound into the realm of Ivory Tower or Vanden Plas adding to the growing number of melodic power metal bands that are producing some very enjoyable music.

The songs are longer than those on Mystic Places, allowing for some of the more technical aspects of the band to surface. There are time and direction changes making this disc more progressive than the first two. Add that to the switch in vocalists and it is almost as if this band and the Avalon of the first two releases are two different bands. Avalon are still growing and changing. The results of that change will be seen on the upcoming disc, Eurasia, which I have not yet heard. The indications are strong that it will be a good disc.

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 09/2000

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Eurasia

Avalon - Eurasia ©2000 Omega Records
1. Aurora
2. Burning Souls
3. Temujin
4. Black Hole Wisdom
5. Eternal Flame
6. Save The Holy Land
7. The Last Call
8. Eurasia
9. The Stranger
10. The Painting
11. Kyrie
12. Semaruma

Power metal meets the Middle East on Avalon's fourth CD. Late in their career, the Beatles went through a psychedelic phase where they blended Indian melodies into their songs in a quest for enlightenment. That same sound is given a much harder and sharper edge in this disc. This disc represents a tremendous leap forward for Avalon, bringing them out of the arena of tired power metal into an untested ground. The elements of lead vocalist Chitral Somapala's native Sri Lanka are blended in with the traditional elements of power metal and the on-the-edge feel of progressive metal for a genuinely refreshing sound. The magnitude of difference between Vision Eden and this disc cannot be measured. It is similar to the advance Vanden Plas made when they followed Color Temple with The God Thing. The leap forward is that significant.

The greatest advances have been made in the song writing itself. These songs are not in the same vein as those cranked out by Avalon on their previous outings. These songs have real meat and substance to them. They push the band to their technical best and it is there that they shine. The songs are rich and complex and delivered right on the money track after track. There is crunch and chop and subtle atmosphere aplenty. The songs also surface in the midst of the progressive metal camp exhibiting more changes and diverse melody structures than those on the previous discs. The vocal melodies are also vastly improved giving the songs a feel of real lift and buoyancy. The disc boasts narration, chant, huge chorus and sweeping vocals deftly woven through the complex songs. The production is flawless. This is one tightly packed disc, an absolute winner on every level.

Avalon manage to produce a disc that is accessible to fans across many genres of metal. This disc deserves your attention. When a band endeavors to change their sound and manages to do so as dramatically as Avalon does with this release, it demands to be heard and deserves an accolade if for no other reason than producing this disc must have been very rewarding for the band. Watching the music grow and become fully realized as a very mature release must have been very satisfying. So go buy it already and listen to what a band that has the courage to step beyond their comfort zones can produce. This is a must have disc for melodic power metal fans. What a disc!

Review by Matthew Braymiller

Review date: 11/2000

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