|©2001 Century Media
2. Reach Out For The Light
3. Serpents In Paradise
4. Malleus Maleficarum
5. Breaking Away
7. The Glory Of Rome
8. In Nomine Patris
10. A New Dimension
12. Sign Of The Cross
13. The Tower
NOTE: There’s a "but” coming in this review...I just wanted to warn you.
Avantasia is a solo project for the vocalist of Edguy, Tobias Sammet. This disc is a concept album featuring a roster of singers that are the cream of the crop for power prog. The story is a typical fantasy metal story of darkness and corruption versus the valiant heroes of light™. This album is something along the lines of one of Arjen Lucassen’s massive undertakings with his recent Ayreon releases.
The vocalists on this album are really what makes it work. They include: Tobias Sammet from Edguy; Kai Hanson from Gamma Ray; Timo Tolkki from Stratovarius; David DeFeis from Virgin Steele; Rob Rock from Warrior; Andre Matos from Angra; and Sharon Den Adel from Within Temptation. The supporting band includes Henjo Richter of Gamma Ray on guitars; Jens Ludwig of Edguy on guitars; Markus Grosskopf of Helloween on bass; and Alex Holzwarth of Rhapsody on drums.
The vocal melodies and choruses on this disc are enormous. The singing is out of this world, being absolutely fantastic. I’d recommend the disc based on the singing alone. The band plays well behind the singing, coming out to the front to strut its stuff once in a while. The play and the singing are very good. The musical melodies are majestic and grand. This is epic power prog in every sense of the word.
But. The concluding lines on the back of the promo disc’s sleeve read: “A true metal opera based around a fantasy story rife with deceit, treachery, religion, imprisonment and witchcraft. Enough to peak [sic] the interest of any true metalhead until Sammet finds time to reconvene Avantasia and continue his spellbinding tale.” Maybe it’s just me, but I find the story old and tired. I have nothing against fantasy fiction. It is my preferred genre for reading, and I am a voracious reader. But I think if you’re going to take the time to gather such a mass of talent, you ought to give them a story that is equal to their considerable worth. The valiant heroes of light™ theme has been done to death. Rather than resurrect it for yet another incarnation, take this wealth of technical proficiency and put some meat on their bones. Admittedly, if you only own one version of this theme, this is the one to own.
This disc is a great disc. It has some of the best singing you’re every going to hear on a powermetal disc. It has loads of majestic, sweeping grandeur and music that goes to dizzying heights. Is the stunning play and singing enough to make up for the lack of depth? I’ll let you decide.
Review by Matthew Braymiller
Review date: 06/2001