Nuclear Blast [Release date 29.01.16]
Tobias Sammet is back with another instalment of his Avantasia project. This one follows on thematically from ‘The Mystery Of Time’ album, with the lead character, a young scientist, unwittingly drawing the attention of a group of devious and dastardly scientists. The story lines are always good in these metal operas, plus the cast list is impressive with regulars like Jorn Lande. Michael Kiske and Bob Catley, joined this time by the likes of Dee Snider and Geoff Tate.
‘Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose’ sounds like a Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman number and upon a quick internet search, the song was written with Meat Loaf in mind, unfortunately for whatever reason it didn’t happen. Hopefully next time, as Tobias’s songwriting and Meat Loaf are made for each other!
Song of the album for me is ‘Draconian Love’, which has a Mission/Paradise Lost feel to it and Herbie Langham’s vocals fit the music perfectly. Nightwish’s Marco Hietala guests on the heaviest song, ‘Master Of The Pendulum’. The riffs and guitar solo on this one are another album highlight.
Of course Bob Catley (playing the Spirit character naturally) gives his all on a duet with Tobias on the album’s closer ‘A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies’. What I think makes Avantasia albums so good is that although Avantasia has its own sound, each song is tailored slightly to sound to the singer’s ‘day band’ if you like. This song is a case in point, there is a little of Magnum’s signature sound here and there. Dee Snider on ‘The Haunting’ is another, recalling his solo works and a fine, menacing performance as the Nightmare.
He’s only gone and done it again, with a collection of fine tunes full of melody and top quality vocal performances from the singers involved. Possibly more ballad heavy than previous Avantasia albums, still this is another ‘must have’. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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