It's been a while since the maestro of power metal Mr. Tobias Sammet revisited us with his fantasy and musics. I must proclaimed that the Metal Operas in Avantasia is my very favorite from the 2000s generation of power metal. Avantasia in there, were perfect in at least three important aspects, perfect in song arrangements, perfect in lyrics and storyline, and perfect in execution of the song, with best singers crafted their part hence the name, Metal Opera. Move on from the bombastic symphonic theme, Tobias Sammet followed up with the Scarecrow, then the double disc the Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon, which is although not 9.9/10 , still about nine stars in each album. So, with that heavy weight discography here comes the hardest part, the high expectation of fans on new Avantasia creation. For this new project in the theme of 'The Mystery of Time', Tobias Sammet keep bringing new singers such as Joe Lynn Turner, surprisingly Pretty Maids frontman Ronnie Atkins and Mr.Big's Eric Martin. This complete with faithful Avantasia power singers Michael Kiske, Bob Catley and others.
The bombastic opening in Spectres is understandable in answering high expectation to immediately created the atmosphere of Avantasia. Tobias is hesitated to repeat a surprise riff driven overture as in the Scarecrow, but opted to open with 'safe' orchestration, similar to the Wicked Symphony. There is no complaint with veteran Joe Lynn Turner handling the guest vocal there. Spectres is a bit too predictable but hey, you asked for Avantasia-like song! The Watchmaker's Dream did not let the moment slip away and pulled off full scale in speed and heaviness. Take attention to Arjen Anthony Lucassen input in keyboards for this historical coalition between Ayreon sound and Avantasia power. Black Orchid is a theatrical string attacks mid tempo epic. Saxon's Biff Byford coming all the way from England to delivered this song. The choruses are the best among the first three tracks. Then here comes legendary Michael Kiske in the second speed and power metal attack of Where Clock Hands Freeze. Yet in a second it's confirmed Tobias Sammet yet created another song fit to Kiske's style, in other words the song is perfectly 'Kiskelized' to the core. The ballads in Avantasia album usually very double edge, there are high percentage that the ballads will be epic, but most of time it is just a moment killing tracks that slow down the flow. So here comes the first ballad, Sleepwalking is also the first video clip released from the album. Cloudy Yang is in duet. Now among many big names in female power metal singer, Cloudy Yang is the lucky girls among the giants, she was in Avantasia project since 2010.
Savior in the Clockwork is epic ten minute-rs with awesome furious intro as the entrance for Turner, Byford and Kiske. It's best composition from The Mystery of Time. Very Scarecrow-ish with partially 'Devil in the Belfry' screaming halfway in the chorus. But I really like the aggressive guitar riff of it, very 'Shelter from the Rain' feel. Invoke the Machine in other opposite is the remake of 'The Final Sacrifice' riff. But then quickly evolved into his own right. Loves the bridge there with piano break. What's Left Of Me is the second ballad, and surprisingly in different style that it is now the pure '80s glam metal ballad. Of course the voice of Eric Martin fit this totally. It's remind you of Alias, Aerosmith (yes, part of I Don't Want to Miss a Thing-thing), and we only wake up from this nostalgic endeavor when Tobias Sammet join in.
As the later part of the album, Tobias give one more catchy song for Kiske, who sing the second verses of Dweller in a Dream. Song flows well between verses, bridge and chorus, Avantasia's best trademark. Closing chapter is The Great Mystery. Once again the ten minutes is worth and best part in the album.
So, what do you think? Surely the album only lacks is in the connection between singer and the song themes now. It is not as strong , and as necessary, in the Metal Opera. It's kinda more loose and random now. But that's also didn't resulting in any major harm. With the sub title as 'Rock Opera', this one is heavy, lean more to the Scarecrow. Helped by the specialist in concept power metal album, guitarist Sascha Paeth and keyboardist Miro, each tracks are composed well with the curves of song dynamic straightly linear from lower left up to upper right in graphic. Best part is in the two ten minutes epics, Savior in the Clockwork and The Great Mystery. While speedy riff every elsewhere greatly maintained the power metal in best shape. Ballads are totally awesome as well, so yeah, another nine stars album in 2013.
Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten
Avantasia - The Mystery of Time 2013
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1. "Spectres" Joe Lynn Turner 6:09
2. "The Watchmakers' Dream" Turner 4:14
3. "Black Orchid" Biff Byford 6:52
4. "Where Clock Hands Freeze" Michael Kiske 4:35
5. "Sleepwalking" Cloudy Yang 3:52
6. "Savior in the Clockwork" Turner, Byford, Kiske 10:40
7. "Invoke the Machine" Ronnie Atkins 5:30
8. "What's Left Of Me" Eric Martin 5:07
9. "Dweller in a Dream" Kiske 4:45
10. "The Great Mystery" Turner, Byford, Bob Catley 10:03
Limited Edition Bonus Tracks
11. "The Cross And You" 4:14
12. "Death Is Just A Feeling (Alternative Version)" 5:24
Tobias Sammet - lead vocals, bass guitar
Sascha Paeth - guitars, producer
Miro – keyboards
Russell Gilbrook - drums
Bruce Kulick (on tracks 3, 6, 10)
Oliver Hartmann (on tracks 4, 7, 9)
Arjen Anthony Lucassen (on track 2)
Avantasia The Mystery of Time Album Review