AVANTASIA

Power Metal / Heavy Metal • Germany
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Avantasia is the side-project of Edguy singer Tobias Sammet, founded in 1999. The groups originally line-up consisted of Sammet on vocals and keyboards, Henjo Richter (Gamma Ray) on guitars, Markus Grosskopf (Helloween) on bass, and Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire) on drums.

The goal of the project was to create a metal opera, and a two part concept story was released in the form of the albums The Metal Opera (2001) and The Metal Opera Part II (2002), which featured a cast of guest vocalists in various roles, with Sammet taking the lead as protagonist Gabriel Laymann. Both of the albums can be classified as power metal, with symphonic elements. Following the second album, Avantasia was laid to rest.

In 2006 Avantasia was revived, but with a re-worked core line-up. Tobias Sammet retained his position as lead vocalist, but this time playing bass. Guitarist Sascha Paeth (Heavens Gate) replaced Richter with
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MoonglowMoonglow
Nuclear Blast 2019
$11.10
$9.80 (used)
GhostlightsGhostlights
Nuclear Blast America 2016
$8.40
$2.98 (used)
The Metal Opera: Golden Edition Vol. 1-2The Metal Opera: Golden Edition Vol. 1-2
Special Edition
AFM 2011
$17.70
$41.99 (used)
The ScarecrowThe Scarecrow
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$6.84
$5.32 (used)
The Mystery Of TimesThe Mystery Of Times
Nuclear Blast America 2013
$10.97
$3.40 (used)
Avantasia - Moonglow (2CD Deluxe Edition)Avantasia - Moonglow (2CD Deluxe Edition)
LOEN ENTERTAINMENT
$25.00
The Wicked SymphonyThe Wicked Symphony
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$12.41
$8.81 (used)
Metal Opera Part IIMetal Opera Part II
Afm Records 2003
$10.69
$9.90 (used)
Angel Of BabylonAngel Of Babylon
BACK ON BLACK 2019
$32.48
Lost In Space 1 & 2Lost In Space 1 & 2
Extra tracks
Nuclear Blast America 2012
$11.49
$15.93 (used)
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Avantasia - Angel Of Babylon [CD] Avantasia - Angel Of Babylon [CD] USD $17.01 Buy It Now 1h 55m
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14h
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AVANTASIA Discography

AVANTASIA albums / top albums

AVANTASIA The Metal Opera album cover 3.99 | 31 ratings
The Metal Opera
Power Metal 2001
AVANTASIA The Metal Opera Pt. II album cover 3.89 | 23 ratings
The Metal Opera Pt. II
Power Metal 2002
AVANTASIA The Scarecrow album cover 4.20 | 25 ratings
The Scarecrow
Power Metal 2008
AVANTASIA The Wicked Symphony album cover 3.93 | 23 ratings
The Wicked Symphony
Heavy Metal 2010
AVANTASIA Angel Of Babylon album cover 3.35 | 18 ratings
Angel Of Babylon
Heavy Metal 2010
AVANTASIA The Mystery of Time album cover 3.79 | 14 ratings
The Mystery of Time
Heavy Metal 2013
AVANTASIA Ghostlights album cover 4.29 | 10 ratings
Ghostlights
Heavy Metal 2016
AVANTASIA Moonglow album cover 4.11 | 5 ratings
Moonglow
Heavy Metal 2019

AVANTASIA EPs & splits

AVANTASIA Lost in Space, Part 1 album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
Lost in Space, Part 1
Power Metal 2007
AVANTASIA Lost in Space, Part 2 album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
Lost in Space, Part 2
Power Metal 2007

AVANTASIA live albums

AVANTASIA The Flying Opera: Around the World in 20 Days album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Flying Opera: Around the World in 20 Days
Power Metal 2011

AVANTASIA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

AVANTASIA re-issues & compilations

AVANTASIA The Metal Opera, Parts I & II: Gold Edition album cover 4.50 | 3 ratings
The Metal Opera, Parts I & II: Gold Edition
Power Metal 2008
AVANTASIA Lost in Space, Parts 1 & 2 album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Lost in Space, Parts 1 & 2
Power Metal 2008

AVANTASIA singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Avantasia
Power Metal 2000

AVANTASIA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
The Flying Opera: Around the World in 20 Days
Power Metal 2011

AVANTASIA Reviews

AVANTASIA Moonglow

Album · 2019 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kev Rowland
2019 saw Sammet return with the next album from Avantasia. Again, there are plenty of guests, including past collaborators ex-Queensrÿche singer Geoff Tate, Pretty Maids frontman Ronnie Atkins, Michael Kiske of Helloween, Jørn Lande (ex-Masterplan), Eric Martin (Mr Big) and Magnum’s Bob Catley. This time around we are also introduced to Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian, Kreator’s Mille Petrozza and Blackmore’s Night frontwoman Candice Night. Work started on the album following the previous Avantasia tour. As Sammet says, “For the foreseeable future none of my bands were scheduled to do anything but an anniversary celebration of Edguy. For the first time I had no deadline or contract… nothing. I was completely free. The plan was to take a break, but the freedom I found presented me with more and more ideas. The material had time to grow. It was a very relaxed way of working, especially because with the help of Sascha Paeth I had built my own studio which helped me to work at my own pace whenever I came home from creative breaks in England, which I found to be extremely inspiring.”

“In a way, its lyrical topics are quite dreamy,” theorizes Sammet. “There’s no end of the world touch; I see these songs as having a Tim Burton-esque eeriness.” Another commonality with 'Ghostlights' is that 'Moonglow' is conceptually based. “Each song is a chapter based upon a creature that is thrown into the world but fails to find its place. It cannot connect with that environment and turns instead to the dark in the hope of finding shelter there. The lyrics are very personal but wrapped up in a fantastic surrounding inspired by writers of dark romanticism, especially gothic novels of the Victorian era by the likes of Arthur Machen or Algernon Blackwood. Yes, it’s a concept album but don’t expect elves walking through the forest,” laughs Tobi. No elves, but there may be orcs, as in many ways the word ‘Moonglow’ is a great title as this is an album which musically and lyrically can be very dark, but never overpoweringly so and there is always that hint of light, that glimmer which shows the way in the dark.

While all his albums are linked in terms of style, this feels as if in many ways it is just a continuation of the last album as the heavy over the top Steinman, Wagnerian and Mangum-esque styles are here again in spades, yet there are plenty of times when Sammet also reverts to the more power metal style associated with his day job. The use of different singers is again a real strength of the album, with “Book of Shallows” (one of the outright heaviest songs on the album), definitely benefitting from that approach.

But, there is something very important you need to understand before playing this album, and that is not to play the final song. Just play the other ten and all will be right with the world, you don’t really need to listen to a symphonic metal version of “Maniac” – yes, the same one from ‘Flashdance’. They try, they really do, but nothing can get away from the fact that it is still the same song. It’s a real shame as it is a great album until that point, but at least they put it at the very end, so it is easy to ignore. Another incredibly solid album from Tobias Sammet.

AVANTASIA Ghostlights

Album · 2016 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Kev Rowland
OK, I admit it, I’m a sucker for Tobias Sammet and his side-project Avantasia. I’m not the only one either, as he always manages to bring in loads of other names to help him out. Given he is a singer of some repute it is always interesting to see who else comes along to give him a hand, and here we see the likes of Geoff Tate, Dee Snider, Michael Kiske, Bob Catley, Jørn Lande and others. He has developed his own style of symphonic rock, which owes more to Magnum than any other single band, yet what threw me here was the opening song, “Mystery of a Blood Red Rose”, which immediately put us straight into the world of Jim Steinman, even down to the female backing vocals. From here on in it is an interesting ride as his take on symphonic, overblown and even Wagnerian metal links closely with Steinman, never losing the Magnum ties but also bringing in more than a hint of Nightwish.

This is a man whose first two albums under this name were called operas, and the fourth was a symphony, so it has always been plain to his listeners as to what inspires him and drives him on. Somehow he has managed to keep both careers going, as while this 2016 release was a follow-up to 2013’s ‘The Mystery of Time’, there was an Edguy album in between (2014’s ‘Space Police’), and here in 2019 he shows no sign at all of slowing down just yet. Highlight for me is the final song on the album, the delicate and wonderful “A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies”. With an introduction which could have come from ‘On A Storyteller’s Night’, Bob Catley takes the first verse with aplomb, and when Tobias joins in then we are taken into a Magnum classic. Tobias may sing the second verse, but this sounds as if it was written for Catley, one of the truly great singers of our time (when he recorded this, he was in his late Sixties!). I can listen to this one song all day, as two singers combine together to take Magnum in a different more symphonic direction, and I love it.

AVANTASIA The Metal Opera

Album · 2001 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
Now here’s a power metal wet dream come about in the thralls of tangible reality. A METAL OPERA is the debut album by the German act AVANTASIA led by Tobias Sammet (of Edguy) about a young novice of the Dominican order known as Gabriel Laymann in the year 1602, who begins suspecting that the Roman Catholic Church is up to no good falsely accusing woman of being witches after his stepsister Anna is accused of such. The plot is actually quite comprehensive embodying two albums worth of material but on this debut album by Tobias Sammet and a little help from his friends from Helloween, Gamma Ray, Statovarius and Rhapsody Of Fire he conjures up a far reaching musical vision that he could surely not accomplish by his lonesome.

While power metal bands for me are a little hit and miss, this one falls squarely into the hit category. While wine and cheese can go together like bread and butter, the mismatching of refined tastes can result in utmost dissatisfaction. Power metal has the propensity of unleashing these universal imbalances in great proportions with musicians mixing and matching sounds while not paying enough detail to the consequences of these musical engineerings. On A METAL OPERA all seems to flip and fall with a satisfaction flag ultimately flapping its approval in the winds of musical excess.

First of all, i don’t find anything on this release TOO cheesy. Power metal is notorious for its cheese without the proper accompanying wine and crackers but this album eschews many of those pitfalls. I really love all the vocalists on board here ranging from Tobias Sammet to the large cast of vocal characters including Kai Hansen (Helloween, Gamma Ray), Michael Kiske (Helloween), David DeFeis (Virgin Steele), Timo Tolkki (Statovarious) and MORE! There are also a plethora of guitarists, keyboardists and well…. ideas. This is really a well thought out affair that contemplates all the pieces of the puzzle and brings them to fruition, not just your run of the mill act that thinks of a theme and doesn’t follow through on the goods.

AVANTASIA The Mystery of Time

Album · 2013 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
On The Mystery of Time, Avantasia assemble all the ingredients of something embarrassingly cheesy - it's a concept album! There's a choir/orchestra! There's Rodney Matthews cover art featuring goblins and treasure! There's an Ayreon-like cast of singers! - but arrive at an end product which certainly delivers all of that.

Power metal majesty, prog metal adventurousness, and rock opera ambition inform the compositions, resulting in a compelling sound which at its best makes me want to hear more from this project - and from parent band Edguy, for that matter. As with Ayreon's projects, the large number of vocalists can tend to make the project seem a little prone to stunt casting, though it's always nice to hear Michael Kiske doing his thing.

That said, whilst at some points Avantasia show a more subtle touch, at others they bring the full-on pomp and cheese turned up to 11, as is only to be expected - it will scratch the itch for a prog-tinged power metal rock opera when you're in the mood for that, but if you aren't in just the right receptive mood it will struggle to win you over.

AVANTASIA The Mystery of Time

Album · 2013 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
The Mystery of Time is the sixth full-length album by German Metal Opera project Avantasia. The album was released in 2013 and is the start a new story by creator Tobias Sammet and his collaborators, completely unrelated to the original two part concept The Metal Opera or The Wicked Trilogy which concluded in 2010 with the release of two albums simultaneously, The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon. Avantasia was very nearly laid to rest after this, as it had been once before, however Tobias changed his mind and so The Mystery of Time was born. Guests this time around include some Avantasia veterans such as Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, Unisonic) and Bob Catley (Magnum), as well as some newbies, including Saxon’s Biff Byford and Ayreon mastermind Arjen Anthony Lucassen (playing a guitar solo). The core band has changed a little with drummer Eric Singer being replaced by Russell Gilbrook (Uriah Heep).

If you’re at all familiar with the last couple of Avantasia releases, then The Mystery of Time will likely come across as being quite the typical sounding Avantasia release. Essentially refusing to stick to any one particular genre, the album mixes elements of melodic heavy metal, power metal, symphonic metal and hard rock, with very occasional and subtle progressive influences (especially in the first couple of tracks), as well as one unashamedly pop/rock song in the form of Sleepwalking.

The end result sounds like the natural continuation of the last couple of albums. There are a few clear power metal songs which are a throwback to the original Avantasia sound, but there always has been on the post-Metal Opera albums so that’s not anything new. The Mystery of Time most definitely isn’t the return to playing power metal that I’m sure the fans of the first two albums would have been hoping for, nor is it even a mostly power metal affair as with The Scarecrow, as aside from the occasional burst of speed there are only actually three clearly defined power metal songs here (The Watchmakers' Dream, Where Clock Hands Freeze, Invoke the Machine). The majority of the music is melodic heavy metal which has a near constant hard rock sort of vibe to it, a sound that Avantasia has become rather adept at by this point, and this is something which works very much in the album’s favour, although what power metal songs are here do stand out as clear highlights.

The compositions themselves don’t manage to rival the best work of Avantasia, but The Mystery of Time easily stands as the most consistent release since The Scarecrow. I did enjoy The Wicked Symphony but felt that it was a step down in terms of overall quality, while Angel of Babylon come over as being very patchy; a weak way to end The Wicked Trilogy, as if Tobias had stretched his ideas too thinly by releasing two albums at once. The break between albums seems to have worked wonders though. While there are still a couple of songs which don’t stand up to the best the best of the bunch (Sleepwalking, What’s Left of Me), we’re talking many more really good ones than not, especially The Watchmakers' Dream, Invoke the Machine and the two epics of the album, Savior In The Clockwork and The Great Mystery.

It has taken me a few listens to get into, but that’s a good thing as the returns have been increasingly better, whereas The Wicked Symphony and Angel of Babylon left good first impressions and had diminishing returns. I’d actually say that The Mystery of Time is the third strongest Avantasia release to date. Let’s just hope that if Tobias has a sequel planned for this one it isn’t another case of diminishing returns as with The Metal Opera and The Wicked Trilogy. An exceptional grade rating is deserved.

85/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org/avantasia-the-mystery-of-time-t2887.html))

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