If you enjoyed my lengthy blog post on the 1988 Christmas Tape, then you might enjoy this one as well. It is kind of a train of thought piece though, just impressions of each songs with sidebar information for your enjoyment, if you enjoy that sort of thing, if you don’t, well no one’s forcing you to read this blog post are they.
This is kind of a first for me. Avantasia is a band I’m very familiar with. Of course I am, Edguy is my favorite band of all time, hands down, Avantasia originally started out as an Edguy side project, that has over the years eclipsed it’s parent band. Edguy will be mentioned requently throughout this review so bear that in mind. This is the first time that I’ve picked up a new vinyl record, by a band I know and enjoy, and listened to it on wax for the first time, and during this first listening I am writing this review.
Ghost in the Moon – great title, and great song. Good, I was a little worried, I didn’t love the last Avantasia album all that much. Actually looking back, im not even sure if I heard the last Avantasia album “Ghostlights” the previous album “The Mystery of Time” was a bit of a let down, that was during the Edguy/Avantasia era in which they were leaving there Power Metal Routes and turning more into a hard rock band. Nothing against hard rock of course, but as a die hard power metal fan, that’s unacceptable. Space Police (the Edguy album) brought back the metal sound, and so it seems that has bled over into Avantasia. But this one starts out on a very strong note, fully orchestrated symphonic operatic power metal, with an opening by a swift piano. 9:51 Seconds. Their second Album “The Metal Opera Part II” starts out the same way with the song “Seven Angels”… and so dose their third album “Scarecrow” and that album was when they really turned into a band themselves and not just a side project. The only thing that is slightly disappointing right now is that this album is the limited edition black vinyl and not the glow in the dark vinyl I was hoping for, but that’s okay, it’s the music that’s important.
Book of Shallows – Another great title and yes another great song. Much faster, then the first, much more power metal. It’s hard to tell on a record where the song breaks are, especially with this band where oft times the songs flow into each other, and the longer songs have pauses.
Moonglow – The title song, starts out slow, picks up a bit, and has both Tobias (lead singer and project organizer) signing a duet with the first female vocalist of the album Candice Night (that name is familiar, I looked it up but I’ve never heard of her specifically, she is the wife of Deep Purple founding member Richie Blackmoore, and also featured on the album “Days of Rising Doom” a Sasha Paeth orginizes (and Tobias involved) side projected called Aina. Yes I’ve heard and love that album, but didn’t know the name Candice Night from it specifically). The song is fairly heavy, and almost poppy, as though it could almost be a hit track. Not sure if I love it too much after the first hearing, it is catchy, but damn, it’s very hard to beat that first song. the song sounds fairly similar to “Amaranth” by Nightwish, at least the chorus does. If you looked at the link, this song actually has a music video for it, and is one of the two official singles from the album.
The Raven Child – This song starts out very slow, not metal at all, but rather has a classical almost medieval sound. I won’t say that is a mark against the song, but I’m glad it starts out side 2 and not side 1. This album so far is reminding me a lot more of their first two albums, and that’s a good thing. Now the song picks up, I didn’t see the time note, this one is 11:13. Okay, this song might be the best on the album… I don’t know though, that first one was nearly perfect. This is a very good song, the only thing that I don’t like so much about this one is it is set in a minor key, unlike the first song, but damn this one is powerful. This song is the other single from the album.
Starlight – another good song, very good, reminds me a lot of earlier Avantasia, quick paced power metal, just a shade on the poppy side. In another world this might be a hit song. It’s a short song 3:36, the second shortest on the album. In better times, whenever a new Edguy or Avantasia album released, my very good friend Sam and I would do a drive specifically to listen to the new album, and discuss it live. We got to do that with: Scarecrow, Angle of Babylon, and Wicked Symphony (all by Avantasia, the later two in the same night since they released both of those albums congruently); and Tinnitus Sanctus (by Edguy).
Invincible – I’ll be honest here, I was kind of hoping that this would be a cover of the Pat Benatar Song. That is not out of the question btw. Edguy has covered Ultravox, Mangum, Europe, and Falco (on Space Police, they were originally going to do “Der Kommisar” by After the Fire, but instead opted for “Rock Me Amadeus” which was the first Edguy song don’t in their native german since their early demos, and the first time Tobias rapped in a song. Also an interesting factoid for you, “Rock Me Amadeus” was the second song I ever downloaded off iTunes, the first was of course the indomitable “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins); and Avantasia has covered Abba, Ultravox, and Freddy Mercury. This is the shortest song on the album, and meh. But that’s okay, I didn’t expect every one of the songs to be slammers.
Alchemy – Back to the heavy metal again, and not only back to the heavy metal, but back to the symphonic stuff as well. This is a longer one too 7:30. This is the first and (currently) only Avantasia Album I have on Vinyl. I have “Space Police/Defenders of the Crown” (an Edguy album) on Vinyl and probably my second favorite of theirs. The other power metal album in my collection is Princess’ Day by Skylark, which is a picture disk and a damn good album as well (and if you look at the link, a damn good album cover for a picture disk).
Piper at the Gates of Dawn – Another longer song at 7:18, and it starts out with a very interesting major key synthesizers which are then matched by heavy metal riffs. A very good song, and also back to the operatic ideas with multiple voices singing and telling a story. Edguy has a song called “The Piper Never Dies” off their album “Hellfire Club” which is also a really good song. I don’t know if this song specifically references that one (and I don’t think it does) but this song is a very good song on the album.
Lavender – well I don’t like the song title all that much, but I like the song a lot, it has a great chorus with a group of singers belting it out almost like a church hymn from a heavier church that I may be tempted to join.
Requiem for a Dream – I don’t like the title, I might otherwise, but it’s been used before, the song though, there’s nothing wrong with it, good symphonic power metal, with a major key and a fast paced, how can you go wrong? I should note here, that for the most part, these songs are not standard or formulaic with a couple verses and choruses and guitar solos, they are much more operatic and non-standard. So if your looking for a typical album, this isn’t it, but if that’s what you were looking for, you probably wouldn’t have found this album anyway.
Manic – Well… if you remember my comment a few tracks ago, “Manic” is in fact a cover of the Michelle Sembello song from Flashdance. You’ve probably never heard it this way before though, it is still very much a metal song. Best song on the album? No, not even close. And as much as I love Tobias, Edguy, and Avantasia, this metal cover of the song is still not better then the Erock version… okay, it’s almost as good.
Heart – one of the downsides of Vinyl is they rarely have bonus tracks, well this album has one for you, and this song is it. Better yet, the Edguy/Avantasia bonus songs tend to often be even better then the songs on the album proper. They started this practice from Mandrake until there latest. This song… nah, not better then the album proper, but its still decent.
Overview – hell yeah, This is a great album, it might be Avantasia’s best since Scarecrow, or maybe, just maybe, even better then Scarecrow, I will have to listen to it a few more times before I make that final judgment call, but regardless, they brought it back. They put a lot of work into this album, it shows, and it pays off ten fold.